I had the privilege to photograph the 2016 Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta’s Rising Star event this weekend. The event was hosted by Matt Ryan, quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, and his amazing wife, Sarah – who has been volunteering several days a week in the clubs for the past 7+ years!

The event was held at Atlanta’s new Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum. Honorees heard from an executive from LexisNexis, Stephanie Blank, and Matt Ryan.

One of the best parts of photographing events, is getting to take part as an audience member. An inspiring message I walked away from this weekend was Matt’s response to one of the Youth of the Year Honoree’s question around bullying. Matt was asked how he overcomes the challenge of negative speak (tv, fans, social media, etc.) when he had a bad game. What advice can you give kids who are being bullied overcome that challenge. His response was something his wife, Sara, taught him. A ship doesn’t sink because of the water that comes into the boat. It sinks because of holes in the boat. You have to build a tough exterior and realize the water coming in (negative speak) means nothing…

Powerful!

Here are some photos from the event.

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Special thanks to Lauren Race at the Boys & Girls Club for asking me to capture these moments… and photo credit to Lauren for taking this last image:-)