Group photo of New Hope Girls women on Radford University campus

How can you help?

“They said you mentioned needing help but didn’t say what exactly. Let me know if you do!”

Have you ever gotten a text like that? A selfless and service-focused offer to help?

I did. And I knew he meant it.

Jonathan Roberts is a local professional and co-founder of Aspire Marketing. He is someone I have known “forever” and have worked with in a variety of ways. When I responded to his text I shared that New Hope Girls had a need for lifestyle photography. Specifically, college-aged ladies in a college-like setting with our beautiful hand-sewn bags. I asked if he felt he could help. Just like that, he agreed. No strings attached, he offered his time and talent entirely pro-bono. 



After that initial conversation the project and photoshoot grew in vision, scope, and impact. What began as a dream for a photoshoot of a few college gals ultimately resulted in twelve models, two photographers, two content creators, two assistants and a makeup/hair artist. My own momma even showed up to be an assistant and literally filled in anywhere needed. 

Rebecca Scales, of Elegant Artistry, arrived at 1:30 to do hair and make up and stayed until we concluded at 8:30. She accentuated the natural beauty of our models and made sure everyone continued to look great on set. She became involved because a mutual friend let her know what we had planned and asked if she might want to help out. She too was an instant and emphatic “yes!” Rebecca shared with me, “ It is only through love, acceptance, and empowerment that true healing can begin.  If we can bring just a touch of Elegance, and a little lipstick to the incredible women of New Hope Girls, watch out and see how high they will soar!” Her love-in-action was inspiring!

Beauty in Selflessness

I am a words person, they are my medium and my favorite way to create. And yet, I find myself lacking adequate words to underscore just how special the photoshoot was. There was so much beauty on our set at Radford University and I am not referencing external appearances. The ladies radiated a heart to show up strong for the girls and women of New Hope. The creatives on set had zero ego issues and only a desire to mutually work well together to obtain the best images possible. There were hugs, laughter, so many smiles, beautiful bags, and joy. 

Things got even more exciting when a photographer with our local newspaper, The Roanoke Times, showed up to capture images of what was transpiring. The story published in the coming days was a celebration of our community choosing to rally around girls and women they’ve never even met to fight an international issue. 

Photo from The Roanoke Times article about the New Hope Girls photo shoot.
Click to check out this article from The Roanoke Times about our shoot!

One of the most beautiful moments was at the end of the shoot when we captured the final shot. We stood in a circle and I expressed gratitude to the people who gave their time and talent with uncommon generosity. I reminded everyone that they were serving girls and women they’ve never met through the content we captured. And then, one of the participants asked if we could have a moment of prayer, for those who felt comfortable. We all took a step in, creating a tighter circle, and Melissa lifted up prayers of gratitude for what took place and all it represents I felt full. Full of gratitude, hope and optimism. Full of that feeling that comes when you recognize something big is taking place – bigger than any one individual and magnified by the collective impact of people selflessly serving others. 

I feel inspired by the selfless way Jonathan started the conversation and spoke this day into existence. It encourages me to consider how I can approach life with an open hand and giving spirit. It makes me thankful for how the big hearts of others can have a tremendous impact on an organization like New Hope Girls and the big battles we are fighting.

I hope that other people will ask questions like Jonathan has asked – the one who set this photoshoot ball in motion. 

If you feel called to serve with New Hope Girls I’d love to chat with you about what that can look like! Creative services (photography + videography) are always in demand! We also have an affiliate marketing program (Advocate Program) that you can sign up for to help share our story and grow our circle of impact. Speaking engagements and connecting with groups (classes, church groups, conferences) help us share our story of impact and change – we welcome invitations to chat/present. Lastly, and most importantly, if you are someone who prays we urge you to keep us top of mind during your quiet moments.

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