“Like everyone, our last few weeks have been surreal, and the uncertainty of it all has been the hardest part: are we doing enough to be safe? Should we still grocery shop? Can we support our local restaurants with takeout, or are we doing more harm than good? When will “normal” be back? But as unsettling as this has all been, we have been amazed by how quickly our community has come together…shopping for others while you’re out, sharing puzzles and toys for the kids, and just keeping close tabs on our friends and neighbors. We have also been made keenly aware of how lucky we are…to be healthy, to still have jobs, and to have the space and wherewithal to home-school the kids. We are hunkered down and so far unscathed, doing our best to stay healthy and sending all the love and good vibes we can to those who have not been so lucky.”

“Senior prom, senior pranks, decision day, sports senior night, and graduation. It was all taken from my graduating class in one speech given by the governor. It went from regretting class every morning to wanting to see my classmates one last time. As seniors we are all going our separate ways in the fall. It’s confusing, heartbreaking, and emotionally draining. As seniors we sit and constantly wonder if Albemarle County will ever be able to promise us a “make up” celebration or a “make up” prom. While we sit on zoom calls and talk to teachers through a computer screen that have been our mentors, counselors, and sometimes the only person we can rely on throughout the stress of senior year. Who majority of us will never see again. We will forever be known as the graduates who never had a graduation.”

“We are doing okay. We are staying safe, and so far healthy. We have had to turn the way we work upside down. Our job is teaching music to babies and toddlers, literally centered around being very close with families and children, and now we have to try create that intimacy through the Zoom box. It is so wonderful, the tremendous warmth of our community, trying to stay together and support one another. I think it is important to document that resolve, that openness, that resiliency, in our communities. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣
At the same time, it is terrifying to feel that we are as a society totally unmoored, adrift at sea, with a diseased and corrupt captain not quite at the helm. And if we somehow make it through without too much damage, they will try to make us forget, to erase the time when an abdication of leadership caused everything to stop, and teeter on the edge of collapse. So we need to document what happened, so we always remember.”

“When I heard that Robert was doing porch portraits, I knew we wanted to join in to document this very strange time the world is in. Most days, and weeks actually, go by quite quickly…we are busy with the kids’ school work, trying our hand at new recipes, and eating meals together. It is during the nights that I am struck by the enormity of it all. It is my time to grieve before starting another day. The other side of this will look unrecognizable, but I will always remain hopeful. ⁣

Yet, there are many bright moments in this…increased family time, enjoying our eldest daughter before she heads off to college, cooking together, reading more books, and enjoying the outdoors more as a family. But let’s be certain, I wish it didn’t take a global pandemic for us to slow down. But through it all, I have seen the good come out of it…so many helpers. Robert being one of the very best. Thank you for doing this and raising so much money for the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and including us in your project!”

“It has been a time of challenge, togetherness, and creativity as we’ve moved Darden’s residential MBA Program online and tried to figure out how to support our local theater and performing arts community after having to go dark for the remainder of the season. It has been a reminder of how fortunate we are, a reminder of how much we love this community, and it’s been a reminder of how much this wonderful community has given our family. We hope to be able to return these many gifts however we can. After re-binge watching Fleabag, one of our favorite quotes keeps sticking out–“People are all we’ve got.” We’ve got to take care of our people.”

“Our son is in the high risk category with Type 1 Diabetes, so we have really been avoiding everyone and everything since the beginning of March. When Robert came by, we really hadn’t spoken to someone else in person for weeks. I know he was in a hurry and had a schedule to keep, but he just listened to us blabber about nothing for a good 15 minutes. We really appreciate the fact that he is raising money for the community while also helping us capture this strange time in our lives.”⁣

“My husband and I both work in the hospital. Going to work and caring for sick patients is always challenging on a good day, but healthcare as seen through the lens of COVID adds a thousand additional layers of complexity. Whose surgery is more important to do today, and whose can wait until the summer? Can my patient’s questions be answered with a phone call instead of a visit? How will unemployment and stay-at-home orders affect their ability to care for themselves? What if that patient’s fever was from COVID and not from a UTI?⁣ ⁣⁣

Staying at home and distancing ourselves from family and friends has been incredibly difficult in another way, but we have found a silver lining in the hours and days we have spent watching our 9-month old daughter grow. #thefrontstepsproject has really been something to look forward to in an otherwise mundane (yet anxious) existence. This photo will be a reminder of an all too interesting time in our lives where there were few smiles and too many tears, but always the promise of life and springtime around the corner.”⁣⁣

“To have the last 2 months of college suddenly take away from you in the blink of an eye is nothing short of heartbreaking. My classmates and I had one weekend to pack our bags and say goodbye to lifelong friendships we weren’t prepared to say goodbye to yet at Bucknell before heading home to quarantine and online classes. A very anticlimactic end one of the biggest milestones yet in my life: graduation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for our graduation in July so I can walk across the stage and celebrate with family and friends. ‘Ray Bucknell!” ~Megan⁣⁣
“As a parent of young adults, this time has us all struggling to support them without interfering in their independence. FaceTiming a child from 6 states away is hard! But thank goodness for the technology we do have.” ~ Debbie⁣⁣

“Being foster parents to an adult with disabilities and serious medical needs has been a true challenge. On 3/1/20, the woman we’ve cared for, for eight years fell and broke her leg. She was lucky to have an amazing surgeon and we were able to get her out of the hospital before the Covid risk became worse. Due to risk for her, we had to lay off our staff and go it alone. We are foster parents, nurses, physical therapists, friends, housemates, but most of all we’re her family. ⁣
Through the amazing support of our wonderful neighbors and friends, we’ve been really lucky and we’ve been able to stay safe at home. Rest, healing and love are getting us through and I am practicing my gardening and baking skills. Broken bones are healing and we will too.” 

“About 10 minutes prior to this photo session, Stacy and I were in the midst of our first serious throw down in a good long while. The stress and angst and fear from the preceding days became too much for me. I broke. I screamed at my partner of nearly 30 years and I cannot even remember what I said. What I remember is that I was scared. I was lost.

We walked to our front porch for these pictures because people we’ve grown to love were doing something right and something good. On our front porch steps I looked into Stacy’s eyes and tried to reconcile my behavior with the overwhelming love I feel for her.
Stacy walks out our door each morning, down these steps, and goes to the clinic and cares for her patients every day, just as she has for all these many years. And I work from our kitchen table each day, as I have for all these many years. But now when Stacy Lynn comes home I sit In fear, if only for a moment, as she walks through the door. I’m afraid she’s going to tell me that she has a fever, that she’s developed a cough. We’ve accepted that because of her work she will contract the virus. But I guess when it comes right down to it, I haven’t really accepted my own desperate fear. I cannot lose her.”

“As classic empty-nesters, Charlie and I have worked to maintain connections with our adult children through the shut-down. Our daughter Stephanie, a pre-school teacher, lives in Charlottesville, so we include her in our “circle” and see her about once a week. Our son Peter lives in Newport News, and is keeping busy with grad school and his organ music while working from home. We feel so fortunate to have a safe refuge during this time, and we’re happy to support our community through the Front Porch Project!”

“My sister always says that she believes most people are looking for a way to be nice, to do good, every day and that they just need an opportunity. You gave us that opportunity with your fundraiser, and that is why we donated to CACF in the hope that these funds will be used to lessen the hardships on families that are impacted disproportionately by this crisis. Then when it came time to have our picture taken, the ways in which my own family is affected came into stark realization. We were only three out of four, when it has always been the four of us weathering every storm together. So I asked you to take this picture of just Joseph, and when I look at it I can feel his isolation and my own anxiety reflected in his face. But I also remember how much I value our community. ” ~ Amy
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Folks, 2020 has been a really wild year. Claire and Mike had to postpone their spring wedding and thankfully we were able to find a date in September that worked for their vendor team. Huge shout out to the following group of vendors who came through and delivered this couple a really awesome day.

Venue: https://www.keswickvineyards.com/

Caterer: https://www.cateringoutfit.com/

Videographer: https://www.ianscreations.com/

Cake/Desserts: http://www.sweetfixrva.com/

Florals: http://www.barnswallowblooms.com/

DJ: https://pteventgroup.com/

Second Photographer: Peter Davis

Photography Assistant: Gabriel Zakaib

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Wow, wow, wow….that is what this day was all about! Kelly and Justin’s wedding was a perfect blend of old and new traditions, with a ceremony at St. Peter’s Catholic Church and a reception at District Winery. There is so much to love about this wedding and this couple!

Shout out to an amazing vendor team!

Wedding Planner: Angelica & Co. Weddings

Reception Venue: District Winery Weddings

Florist: Amy Lauren Floral Design

Hair: Farrah Malek

Makeup: Lucy Valis

Band: Bachelor Boys Band

Cake: Buttercream Bakeshop

Second Photographer: Amanda Joy

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Maddy and Jake were married on a Sunday afternoon at District Winery right along the river in DC. A little bit overcast and rainy at times, but that did not stop Maddy, Jake, their families or guests from having the most amazing celebration. What a fun group! My favorite part may have been when Maddy and Jake surprised their guests by joining the band for a song! Kudos to the following group of wedding vendors: 

Venue: District Winery

Videography: Ian’s Creations

Florist: Darling & Daughters

Band: The Jersey Joint 

Make-up: Red Carpet Ready

Hair: Norma Vida Styles

Second Photographer: Julia Rochelle Photography

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