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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Media contacts:

                                                                                       Stephen Katz 757-581-5511

September 19, 2011                                                       Nora Firestone 757-705-7174                                             



     Locally-founded initiatives Shoot for Good and ThankingOfYou.com join forces to "showcase the good" generated by individuals and organizations throughout Hampton Roads and beyond and to "give back" reflectively.

      Between midnight and midnight Saturday, Oct. 8, photographers of all levels-from hobbyists to professionals-are encouraged to seek and shoot acts/expressions of kindness within the Hampton Roads region and upload their photos to www.ShootforGood.org, a growing photographic journal initially designed to document slices of altruism in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina.

     "The idea is to create a mosaic of benevolence, a 24-hour snapshot of the spirit of our community, that we will share in nearly real-time on our Web site," explained Stephen Katz, co-founder of Shoot for Good and a photojournalist with The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Va.  These valuable photographs will be made available to participating/photographed non-profit organizations at no charge for use in their own promotional endeavors and will also be exhibited in unique ways throughout the region, "in hopes of inspiring others to give of themselves" in the spirit of volunteerism, Katz said.

      In the spirit of gratitude for the goodness, Thanking of You calls upon people who've benefited from the benevolence of local individuals and groups to showcase the impacts with words at www.ThankingOfYou.com.  Established in 2008, ThankingOfYou.com is the Web-based forum for posting and receiving stories of gratitude (messages of thanks) to recognize, affirm and honor the people who've made a difference in our lives. 

     Although folks worldwide post Thank you messages at ThankingOfYou.com year-round, founder Nora Firestone, a freelance journalist and Virginian-Pilot correspondent, noted that teaming up with Shoot for Good this year "broadens the scope of each project's individual call to highlight positivity within Hampton Roads and gives those who are already engaged in the exchange of kindness on October eighth a nudge to reflect upon their own sense of gratitude for the contributions of others in their lives and to express that gratitude within this purposefully-focused 24-hour period."

     Organizers of both projects encourage people to join the upcoming effort, as documenting meaningful acts and impacts of people and organizations, whether with photographs or with words, is one way to "give back" to them "by shining light on their talents, hearts and potential to influence others in profound ways," Firestone said.  "Typically it's not money that motivates people to act with kindness and volunteerism," she explained; "most often it's the desire to be making a difference in the lives of others. Illuminating their impact can go a long way toward affirming one's sense of life's purpose, boosting morale or re-energizing a challenging mission, inspiring new acts of goodness and naturally fueling the continuum of a virtuous collective human spirit-all concepts with which an increasing number of people seem to be struggling to actualize lately."  

     While Hampton Roads has been the primary focus of Shoot for Good since its 2010 inception, this year founders invite photographers nationwide to initiate Shoot for Good dates and online galleries within their own communities.  Interested parties may contact Stephen Katz to get started.    

     All those in favor of showcasing the good and the gratitude can act by grabbing a camera, keyboard or both and uploading their observations of unheralded greatness at www.ShootForGood.org and/or www.ThankingOfYou.com Saturday, October 8, 2011.           

     For more information or to have a Shoot for Good or Thanking of You team member document an event or a "Thank you," visit the Web sites or call Stephen Katz at 757-581-5511 or Nora Firestone at 757-705-7174.


About Shoot for Good: Founded in 2010 by three Virginia-based photojournalists in awe of the power of photojournalism to evoke thought and inspire change, Shoot for Good aims to encourage hobbyists and professionals alike to grab cameras, explore their communities and feel empowered to document positive activities that will motivate others to act.  The growing online gallery, from which non-profits may pull photographs free of charge for their own libraries and promotional efforts, is a give-back to those organizations as well as a gathering place of sorts, where all can turn for inspiration and motivation in a world where life's most brilliant gems sometimes lay just beneath an understated surface.


About ThankingOfYou.com: Founded in 2008, ThankingOfYou.com was inspired by freelance journalist Nora Firestone's longtime desire and unsuccessful search to thank two teachers from elementary school in Plainedge, L.I. for the seemingly small things they'd each done decades ago that had a lasting, positive impact on her as she grew.  Frustrated by her inability to locate Mrs. Shore and Mr. Sybil, Firestone realized the opportunity to fill two universal needs for people worldwide: the need to express gratitude for the people who've made a difference in our lives, and the need for those who've made a difference, no matter where on Earth they roamed nor how much time had passed, to discover when, how, to whom, and why it mattered. Thanking of You.com aims to build a lasting story bank of these true-life testimonials for their recipients and the world and to inspire the continuum of positive influences via the heartfelt messages of thanks posted on-site.


About the joint effort:  Stephen Katz and Nora Firestone, both Long Island natives, each moved to Hampton Roads, Va. as adults.  They met while working on assignments for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper-he, as a photographer and she, as a freelance correspondent.  Last year Katz and Firestone discovered that they'd independently founded similar projects, each designed to showcase acts, expressions and impacts of goodness imparted by and for everyday individuals and organizations.  Each free online forum visually or verbally recognizes the impacts of these people and acts and aims to inspire the continuum of such positive, sometimes profound, yet often unheralded human interaction.  ShootForGood.org showcases that goodness with unique photojournalistic beauty; ThankingofYou.com showcases it by facilitating detailed, heartfelt written and spoken messages of thanks for those who've made a difference.


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