Michael Ririe is a fellow student of mine at UVU. I first met him when I went to Italy a couple summers ago. While we were the only two photo students in Italy, he was definitely farther ahead of me (and even helped me pick out a new tripod when the cheap one I brought died!) Mike is an immensely talented photographer, and I've enjoyed having classes with him since study abroad.
This past summer, he also exhibited a show both in Provo and Orem, images entirely focused around an organization that helps provide intensive physical therapy to children. The organization is known as "Now I Can", and their goal is to get children to a level of independence they wouldn't have otherwise.
After watching my brother-in-law work through this kind of therapy after an accident that left him paralyzed, I can't even imagine that being the only life a child knows. Seeing the images was heart-wrenching and inspiring. Mike managed a beautiful balance of the best and the worst of this experience for the kids--the moments where you can see they'd rather stop, and those where the success has been achieved. The entire purpose of these exhibits was to raise local awareness about Now I Can in hopes of getting them more support.
Now Mike is trying to raise the money to create a photographic book of these images. All proceeds will go directly to Now I Can as well as some of these books going to places where the organization can raise funds to help more children. I encourage all my friends to check out the photo essay on Mike's website as well as go to this link to donate to get this book going. I can't think of a more worthy cause for you to donate to this holiday season!