"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Friday, June 29, 2012

it's all about the kids

During the yearly cycle of running my non-profit, Change the Truth, there are two days that rise above all the rest: the day my volunteer team leaves for Uganda and the day of our annual friendraiser/fundraiser.

I was awakened way too early this morning when a swarm of bumble bees starting buzzing around and dive bombing in my stomach. Today is the big day: our 5th annual event to raise awareness of and funds for the 180 children who live at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood in Kajjansi Uganda. This day has required a lot of preparation on the part of a lot of people. There have been donations of time, talent, money and products. I am always amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love toward these beautiful, hard working and deserving Ugandan children - children who have lost one or both parents to war or disease. I am so fortunate to be involved in such a love-fest. It restores my faith in humankind.

When it comes right down to it, these important days in the life of Change the Truth are really all about the children - the loving, hopeful, inspiring young people who live at the orphanage. They stole my heart six years ago and never quite remembered to give it back. I dedicate today, all the other important days and even the days when nothing too special happens - to them. 

Here are some portraits I made at the orphanage in 2009.



Claire Faith




Thursday, June 28, 2012

it takes a few days and a lot of people to make this happen!

CTT is lucky to have so many hard-working and dedicated volunteers. That's been true since the very beginning - in 2007.

Some of the same people continue to dig deep and help. And then there are some new faces among the CTT family of friends. I'd like to thank all of them for what they do to make our annual fundraiser - our biggest and most important event of the year - such a huge success.

The volunteer committee for this year's event includes:

Kathy Tracy
Lynne Melcher
Wynne Winter
Lee Winter
Jennifer Smith
Jeff Mildner
Gail Lozoff
Avis Smith
Hazel Brown
Augi Grassis
Paula Shteamer
Eddie Feinstein
Kim Davis
Mary Yeager
Michael Spillers
EG Schempf
Emily Ramza
Paige Peppitone
Dawn Taylor
Phil Gayter
Emily Biegelsen
Sarah Biegelsen
Isabella Pallotto
Jennifer Schoenwetter
Suzanne Garr
Max Feinstein
Jennifer Heinemann
Elizabeth Gerson
Catherine Fredette
Emily Collins
Jake Bowers

Without these folks, the CTT Friendraiser/Fundraiser would not be the seriously sizzlin' event that has become a fixture on Kansas City's June calendar of events.

Here are a few snaps from today's set-up. It has taken a bunch of people to put this together this week, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.


Jennifer and Jake


caterer Linda and gallerist Erin

Then, of course, there are the 23 artists who took the time to adorn a doll. They are just wonderful people, I am running out of ways to say "thank you" to them, especially those who do this year after year.

Lisa Lala stopped by to see the show today and posed with her doll

Hope to see you all tomorrow night! I think you'll really enjoy yourselves.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

school sponsorship

Did you know that Change the Truth is now sponsoring a total of 29 students in secondary school, vocational school and in University?

The young people who are chosen to receive our scholarships must maintain a high level of performance, both in and out of the classroom.

And they are grateful beyond words for this opportunity to succeed. They know, better than anyone, that an education is their passport to a better life.

I'd like to introduce you to one of our sponsored students, Caleb.

Tusingwire Caleb

Something About Me:  I am now 14 years old.  I am a full orphan with 2 younger siblings (a brother and a sister) in Primary at St. Mary Kevin’s Primary School.  I attend Senior 2 at Kajjansi Progressive Senior Secondary School.

My Future Aspiration:  To become a doctor.

My Favorite Subjects to study:  Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry… I am proud of my performance and I am ranking within top 10 of my entire class of about 240 students.

Activities I Enjoy Outside of Class:  Football (Soccer), Art

Ways CTT has Helped Me in My Life:  CTT has helped me to know my future, gain talents in art, and assisted me with my academics.

CTT Team Member Who Is Important to Me: Dawn, cause I really liked her sports.  I also thank her for the Wayne Rooney jersey.  I think it made me more talented in football.

Special Message to CTT friends and supporters:  All the CTT team, I really thank you for all of the support you have given to me.  You have helped me a lot, and I am glad of that.  I appreciate all of your love and support.  Thanks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

support our supporters!

Can you identify these super cool places where our event posters are hanging? Definitely some of our favorite KC haunts.

We will have 75 items in our silent auction Friday night! Everything from a fabulously gorgeous amethyst and pearl handcrafted bracelet from Tom Tivol to a certificate for a rescued pup from Wayside Waifs. In between are haircuts, facials, massages, dinners at great KC restaurants, bottles of wine, a camera, a Kindle, pilates classes and an impressive array of original artwork.

Please make a point to support the businesses who are supporting us. These places rock!

Tom Tivol Jewlery
Salon Mission
Creative Candles
Crick Camera
Brookside Toy and Science
Eden Alley
Café Sebastienne
Chai Shai
Stem Salon
Coterie Theatre
Missouri Repertory Theatre
Amigoni’s Winery
Pryde’s of Westport
Brookside Optical
The Mixx
Shop Girls
Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions
Bijin Salon and Spa
Miriam Garvey
In Clover
Salon Cheveux
Personal Best Pilates Studio 
Bellezza Tan and Salon
The Roasterie
Crestwood Flowers
Black Bamboo
Kwanzaa Martial Arts Academy
Extra Virgin
Wayside Waifs
Steven C. Mingos, DDS
The Upper Crust
Carpe Diem Aesthetics
Panera Bread
Kenna Bergman Jewelry
Reading Reptile

welcome FYI readers

I'd like to welcome those of you who have found your way to this blog via the FYI section of today's Kansas City Star. You're here to learn more about the 5th Annual Change the Truth Friendraiser/Fundraiser, and you've come to the right place!

The event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

It will take place from 7 - 10 PM Friday, June 29th at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore.

7:00 - Shane Evans will take the stage along with singers from the KC Boys and Girls Choirs

7:30 - short documentary film by Lynne Melcher about Change the Truth and its current work at an orphanage in Uganda

8:00 - The BCR Allstar Band takes the stage

Throughout the evening there will be silent auctions for: 

Unique and fabulous banana fiber dolls made by the children at the orphanage and adorned by area artists, including Jason Pollen, Miki Baird, Archie Scott Gobber, Marie Mason, Marcus Cain, Nedra Bonds, Allan Winkler, Anne Austin Pearce, Susan White, Joe Lorusso, Lisa Lala/Wil Lala and Tom Corbin.

Beautiful framed drawings and paintings by the children who live at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage in the east African country of Uganda. These children have lost one or both parents to war or disease. There are 180 children who live at the orphanage; for the past five years, they have depended on Change the Truth to provide them with financial assistance for food, school fees, medical care and various special projects. The sale of their own artwork empowers these talented, deserving children by giving them the profound opportunity to bring in some of that support themselves.

Items that have been donated by caring KC businesses and artists, including gift cards to many fine restaurants, gift certificates for hair and spa treatments, tickets for the Chiefs and Sporting KC, gorgeous jewelry, a winery tour and tasting, original artwork and even teeth whitening and karate lessons!

There will be a raffle for an Apple iPad. Tickets are $10... 3 for $25.

Munchies, a cash bar and valet parking round out the rest of the evening.

Now that you've (hopefully) cleared your calendar for Friday night, please take a few minutes to view some of the dolls and children's artwork on the preceding posts. To see the entire collection of dolls, simply click here.

To read all about Change the Truth, click here.

It's a fun event. Great art, great music, great people, great cause! Hope to see you Friday night!!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Auma Oliva

Something About Me:   I am 12 years old.  I am a half orphan.  My older brother (David) and younger sister (Beatrice) are also featured artists.  I have 2 younger brothers at SMKOM with me, too.  I attend Primary 5 at St. Mary Kevin’s Primary School.

My Future Aspiration:   To become an accountant.

My Favorite Subjects to Study:   English

Activities I Enjoy Outside of Class:   Reading books

Best thing about CTT visiting us at SMKOM:   They help us by bringing good friends and things to do during the holiday.

One of My Best CTT Friends:  Avis, cause she is kind to me and my family.  We do nice things with her, and she makes us to be happy.

Special Message to You Seeing My Painting:    Hello. I thank you for helping us.  You make us happy every day, every time.  Thank you for being a friend to us.  God bless you!


Okecha Willy

Something About Me:   I am 19 years old.  My younger brothers (Oscar and Brian) are also featured artists.  I also have 2 other brothers (1 younger, 1 older) with me at St. Mary Kevin, too.  I am a CTT sponsored student attending Senior 3 at Kajjansi Progressive Senior Secondary School.

My Future Aspiration:   To become a computer engineer or artist/painter.

My Favorite Subjects to Study:   Computer, Physics, Mathematics, and Fine Art

Activities I Enjoy Outside of Class:   Painting on students’ clothes and assisting my friends with computer software and applications.

Best thing about CTT visiting us at SMKOM:   CTT has come to build our nation through putting in much effort and funds for the Ugandan child so that he/she acquires education and other development opportunities and skills for a brighter future.  They show us great love when they are here at SMKOM.

One of My Best CTT Friends:  Sarah and her mother Linda.  They brought band instruments to SMKOM which is another opportunity for us to develop our musical talents.  The sounds of music are always heard now. 

Special Message to You Seeing My Painting:    Thank you for putting a brick in Uganda’s foundation.  Thank you for appreciating my artwork, and may God bless you.  Thanks a lot.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Opio Nicholas

Something About Me:   I am 16 years old.  I am a full orphan.  My younger sisters (Isabella and Petra) are also featured artists.  I have 1 younger brother with me at St. Mary Kevin, too.  I am a CTT sponsored student attending Senior 3 at Kajjansi Progressive Senior Secondary School

My Future Aspiration:   To become an artist, musician, activist, and book illustrator.

My Favorite Subjects to Study:   Fine Art, Music, French, Literature

Activities I Enjoy Outside of Class:   Creating art, writing music, and singing

Best thing about CTT visiting us at SMKOM:   They bring us so much, like friends, art supplies, holiday gifts, opportunity for us to perform, fun times away from our school.  We look forward to their arrival every year. 

One of My Best CTT Friends:  Lonnie and Jane, cause they were our first art teachers.  They taught us their skills and inspired other artists to come visit us, too.

Special Message to You Seeing My Painting:    Every painting is special to me and comes from some place in my mind.  Thank you for appreciating my efforts, and I hope you enjoy the finished product.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Now it's time to feature some of the young artists from St. Mary Kevin Orphanage - those whose work will be included in the exhibition/auction this coming Friday night at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center.

Abalo Petra

Something About Me:   I am 9 years old.  I am a full orphan.  My older brother (Nicky) and older sister (Isabella) are also featured artists.  I have 1 younger brother with me at St. Mary Kevin, too.  I attend Primary 4 at St. Mary Kevin’s Primary School.

My Future Aspiration:   To become an artist.

My Favorite Subjects to Study:   English

Activities I Enjoy Outside of Class:   Singing, Dancing, and Playing

Best thing about CTT visiting us at SMKOM:   We always do fun things when they are here with us.

One of My Best CTT Friends:  Christy, cause she sang songs and played games with us. She was always happy to be with us.

Special Message to You Seeing My Painting:    Thank you for liking my picture, and I will love that you saw my picture.  

[Thanks to Melissa for interviewing the artists!]

gail spahr and tom corbin

"I was born in Chicago and moved to the Kansas City area when I was four years old.  Some of my earliest memories are always of drawing and coloring on whatever I could find. Most times my abstract art was not always appreciated probably because of the chosen surfaces. I always knew I wanted to be an artist."

Gail worked for Hallmark for twenty-seven years and is now retired, focusing on her own art. She has recently starting combining painting and collage in various assemblages. This is the first year she has taken part in the doll project.

Tom Corbin’s introduction and subsequent career in sculpture has been based more on serendipity than calculation. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1954, Tom’s early fascination in art was inspired by his mother, an art teacher by trade. Despite studying painting and drawing at Miami University, Tom’s original career pursuit was Business as an advertising executive. Tom’s first brush with the third dimension came in a chance meeting with a bronze sculptor in 1982. Classes with this sculptor led to a deepened interest in bronze casting and thoughts of a career in art. In 1986, Tom left the secure confines of his advertising agency job for the unpredictability of life as a full time sculptor.

Tom landed his first major public commission in 1988. Additional commissions followed, along with the financial freedom for Tom to develop his own “speculative” sculpture. During this period, Tom was also experimenting with furniture design, an area that would soon play a major role in the growth of his studio operation.

Today, Tom’s work appears in 22 showrooms and galleries internationally. Individual collectors include Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Danielle Steel and the late Frank Sinatra. Public installation sites include the United Nations, The Kauffman Foundation, the Firefighter’s Memorial, the Children’s Fountain, University of Oregon and Florida State University. In addition to important public and private collections, his work has found its way onto the sets of some major motion pictures, among them True Lies, A Perfect Murder, It’s Complicated and Transformers.

Friday, June 22, 2012

one more week!

Change the Truth Logo

Join us for an evening of serious fun and celebration beginning at 7:00 sharp!

7:00 - 7:30    
Shane Evans performs with members of the KC Girls and Boys Choirs
7:30 - 8:00    
A special program you won't want to miss
8:00 - 9:30    
The BCR All Star Band performs during our silent auction
Enter our raffle to win an Apple iPad
$10 per ticket/3 for $25  
Bid on beautiful dolls and paintings

*** Unable to attend?  View the dolls and bid here ***
Be the successful bidder on one or more of our many silent auction items.  You'll want to bid high and bid often on wines, spa services, gift certificates from local restaurants, jewelry and artwork and so much more...including
  • 4 Sporting KC tickets for Game 11 on July 28 in Section F6 with Section A parking - donor value of $1,000
  • A beautiful bracelet from Tom Tivol (pictured below) - donor value $500
  • Hors d'oeuvres for 8 set up and served in your home by Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions - donor value $500
  • Winery Tour and Wine Tasting for 10 from Amigoni Urban Winery - donor value $250

Here are some of the paintings, dolls and jewelry that could be yours if you're the high bidder


Like us on Facebook
[Insert social links here – select the logos from the toolbar on the left side.]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

charmalee gunaratne and sherry boemmel

Charmalee Gunaratne is a licensed architect from Sri Lanka and an architect at BNIM architects. She is a the co- founder of Eco Abet, a not-for-profit architecture firm. Eco Abet's mission is to provide design and architectural services to impoverished, underserved and traumatized communities around the globe.

 “I am always mesmerized by the huge smiley faces of children at SMK orphanage and wanted to capture the spirit of the children in the dolls. This years doll came to me with a happy uplifting spirit kind of stating ‘I am on top of the world’. Therefore I did not want to add anything more other that to complement the already happy doll. The theme of the doll is ‘top of the world’. I feel that's what all these children feel when they smile, they are truly happy within."

Sherry Boemmel was born and raised and mostly educated in Chicago where she still lives. She has a Bachelors degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Northern Illinois University. Both those degrees and other studies inform her life and her work because she builds stories from both words and materials.
Her studies as an artist began with tapestry weaving, but she quickly found her bent was sculptural and nontraditional. Her heart has always belonged to fiber, but smashed bits of wire from the street can be as exciting to her as newly dyed silks, ancient quilts, ribbons and laces which she also loves. She has a way of finding stories in her materials, but she also finds materials to illustrate the stories he writes in her imagination.

Dolls and other figures are a particular interest. Lately she has been experimenting with ways to make them move since she has been fascinated by paper engineering, the Cabaret Mechanical Theater in London, and automatons for a long time.

"My doll is entitled ‘A View of Uganda from Chicago.’  The doll reflects some of the best and the worst about Uganda. The doll herself is Ugandan, and so are the banana leaf mats behind her and the fabric used for her sash. Other fabrics in the colors of the Ugandan flag make up her dress. Assault rifles stud her skirt, and childrens’ hands in the same colors speak of the children in the same context. The outside of the box is stamped with musical notes and more small hands and feet."