Program Spotlight: Pre-Schoolers Who Photograph at Birch Family Services


The month of May was themed “Living and Non-Living” at Watson Avenue Early Childhood Center of Birch Family Services in Parkchester. Two separate classes of preschoolers found themselves utilizing JHP provided cameras for four weeks with the help of volunteer photographers Elena Bernstein and Susan Falzone.

The co-teachers instructed on basic, graspable topics like: how to hold the camera properly, what is a shutter button, how to fill the frame and how to stand still to avoid blurry photos. Both classes had an integrated student population with some students existing on the autism spectrum and of course both classes maneuvered with mountains of energy despite the small bodies.

The JHP team and the staff at Watson are very pleased with the outcome of the program. The students proved their ability to retain information and follow instruction with the goal of producing enjoyable photographs and understanding the difference between living and non-living (a necessary skill in society). Over the next week, each class is culminating their school year with a moving up ceremony that includes a student art gallery of their photos from the program—a very special addition to their tradition.

Today, parents were made aware of their child’s artistry and invited to enjoy the exhibit. JHP received gratitude for exposing their children to more ways of finding identity and creative expression. And we are proud to say, that with another successful program, we have enhanced some very special lives.

Student captures “non-living” – Photo by Afiya Shani W. (Program Coordinator, Photographer)
Student captures “non-living” – Photo by Afiya Shani W. (Program Coordinator, Photographer)
The Globe = Non-Living Photo by Justus Severino, Participant
The Globe = Non-Living Photo by Justus Severino, Participant
A Photo of “living” – Photo by Nestor Quezada, Participant
A Photo of “living” – Photo by Nestor Quezada, Participant
Student capturing “living” – Photo by Susan Falzone, Volunteer Photographer
Student capturing “living” – Photo by Susan Falzone, Volunteer Photographer
Student captures “non-living” – Photo by Afiya Shani W. (Program Coordinator, Photographer)
Student captures “non-living” – Photo by Afiya Shani W. (Program Coordinator, Photographer)


JHP Celebrates Children on International Children’s Book Day!

Children’s Books have a very special meaning to us at the Josephine Herrick Project. 

Today is International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) a yearly event sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), an international non-profit organization. Founded in 1967, the day is observed on or around Hans Christian Andersen‘s birthday, which is today, April 2. Activities include writing competitions, announcements of book awards and events with authors of children’s literature.

JHP uses the “Power of Photography” to guide children throughout our programs.  In 2014, we offered programs for children on the autism spectrum at the Brooks Institute, Cooke Center Academy, Birch Family Services and Stratford Public Library. Our programs stress “visual literacy” and the camera becomes a means of expression for the students.

After each program concludes, JHP works alongside the teachers and professional volunteer photographers to create a Blurb photo book that includes the students’ photos, information about the program, messages from the participants and of course the smiling faces captured as they share their joy of photography.  Check out all of our books on Blurb.  Your support helps us create more programs for children and other underserved populations.


On a historic note, one of our long supporting volunteers, Jean Lewis, was also a children’s book author.  She got her start through Little Golden Books and began by writing adventure books for “The Flintstones” and “Bugs Bunny.” Her body of work consists of over 100 books.  But most importantly, she gave freely of her time for over 55 years. She began work at VSP (Volunteer Service Photographers) now known as JHP (Josephine Herrick Project) in 1954 and remained for 55 years including her over 20 years as Executive Director.

Check out feature on Jean Lewis. 

— Jackie Augustine

Akeem Bonaparte receives the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama



The Board and Staff of The Josephine Herrick Project are very proud of our recent intern and former Birch Family Services program member, who was recently honored by President Barack Obama for his volunteer service in 2012 with New York Cares.  Akeem received the prestigious, President’s Volunteer’s Service Award.  Congratulations Akeem on receiving the award and for giving back to New York Cares and The Josephine Herrick Foundation.  Here’s an inside look at Akeem’s award from his new blog:

President Volunteer Award from President Barack Obama and Why I volunteer with New York Cares 

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On May 31,2013  I received an award from the President’s volunteer service award thanking me for doing 100 hours of community services  in 2012 with New York Cares. I’m so proud of myself that I received this award. I’ve done over 98 New York Cares projects for the past two years which I’m so happy about. The reason Why I volunteer with New York Cares is  working with Children who have Developmental Delay disabilities which is Keen Recreation Center. I love playing with the children teaching them how to play sports and having fun. I also like volunteering at St John the Divine serving food to the homeless. By taking my free time going out there in the community, volunteering for projects that need to be done, and also making people happy for the tasks that are being done every single day I was meant to get this award.

I also want to thank my two job coaches Menroy Cambell and Marsha Bennet  that always go with me when I sign up for a New York Cares project and that when I arrive to the destination to start the project on time. They are always there for me and I appreciate so much that I just want to say a Big Thank you Menroy and Marsha for always being there with me during a volunteer project. I would always remember the both of you and how you play your role as being a job coach for me. Thank you very much for helping me out when I needed help. You probably helped more than you think you did. Thank you.”

Thanks for being there when I needed you

Thanks for everything

Akeem Bonaparte


Read more about Akeem’s Photography experiences on his blog:  Akeem’s Photography World


RTP Partners with to launch our first book of 2013

Every picture tells a story and we are privileged at RTP to have over 70 years worth of writings and photographs that document how photography changes lives.  Our goal in 2013 is to increase awareness of RTP and to share with you our successes with our programs and the individuals who benefit from them.  We have several new initiatives but one really fun one is to create books that can inspire, make us think and hopefully make us decide to support RTP through a purchase of one of our books.

About RTP

Rehabilitation Through Photography has been transforming lives through the power of photography for over 70 years. We are a nonprofit who help individuals without a voice in society connect with their communities. By providing cameras, classes and teachers to students, RTP hopes to change lives visually, verbally and emotionally. Read more

Taking Pictures at the NY Aquarium

By Akeem Bonaparte  

On Saturday September 15, 2012, The Friendship Group for Photography went to the NY Aquarium and took pictures of different kinds of aquatic wildlife. The participants that joined the photography group were Royce, Malik, Mark, and I. The group was accompanied by Jeffrey, Avis, and Sahara. Sahara, our professional photographer, was there to teach us how to take portraits, take close-ups, when to use a flash and Birdseye view. Read more

RTP awarded the Voice of Hope Award at Birch Family Services




Budding Photographer

Celebrate the positive impact the

Fotography in Friendship program

 is making in their lives!


Join us on Tuesday May 15, 2012 for the Feelings in Focus Spring Fundraising Event for Birch Family Services, for details click on this link: 



Birch Family Services, founded in 1975, has grown from one small school into one of the largest networks of comprehensive programs serving New York children and families. Birch provides special schools, residences, and other services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities ranging in age from 3 to 72. 

Our “newest” New Frontier Program is Fotography for Friendship which uses a shared interest in photography to promote social skills development in young adults on the autism spectrum.  In recognition of your organization’s integral role in making Fotography for Friendship a success, as well as the great work you’ve been doing with our students at our School for Exceptional Children, it is at this event that we would like to present Rehabilitation Through Photography with our Voices of Hope Award.