A Picture Perfect Pair!

15-year-old Noah’s friendship with Sydney is picture perfect.

“Noah’s awesome,” exclaimed Sydney, a photographer based in Washington, D.C. Over the course of their friendship, both Sydney and Connecting Champions Virtual Program Associate Cait have watched Noah open up and grow in his passion for photography.

“When we first met Noah, he was really reserved and shy, slow to come out of his shell,” said Cait. “It’s been really fun to watch him open up and get increasingly more comfortable with us.”

Their first calls revolved around all of the parts of the camera and the technical side of photography. The pair talked about exposures, apertures, lighting, and everything in between, lessons that came in handy when Noah began a photography class during school. Thanks to the guidance of his mentor, Noah was ahead of his peers and even showed his classmates how to work a camera. “He was really proud of that,” Cait said.

With a basis of knowledge on how the camera works, Noah took photos from his summer vacation as he traveled through various national parks. He was so excited to share his work with Sydney and, together, they talked about what he did well and what he could improve on for his next trip.

“His knowledge has multiplied so fast, and he’s such a quick learner,” said Sydney.

As their meetings progressed, the student became the teacher as Noah shared his love for digital image editing and graphic design. After he shared Photoshop projects of his cat on the moon or in a snow globe, Sydney told him that she was not too familiar with the editing software and asked if Noah could teach her. He happily opened his Photoshop up and showed Sydney everything he does to create his fun images.

“It’s been cool learning together and interacting with him as he shows me the things that he’s learned,” Sydney said.

For one meeting, both Noah and Sydney took photos from Google and added their own creative spin on it. They added different elements and objects to the original image, creating an entirely new photo to showcase their Photoshop skills.

One thing that both Cait and Sydney noted about their time with Noah is the difference between his initial shyness and the young man that they meet with now. “Some days, we just chat about his life, including video games that he’s playing and movies that he’s seen,” Sydney said. “He’s allowed us to be a little more involved with his hobbies and his life.”

That newfound comfortability and confidence is a testament to Sydney’s mentoring. “He initiates conversation, he jokes around more, and he is a little bit more spunky,” said Cait. “It speaks a lot to how Sydney empowers him to show and use the skills that he is learning with her. She’s incredible and has done a really amazing job with him.”

When asked how her mentorship with Noah has impacted her personally as well as in her work, Sydney discussed how refreshing it is to meet with Noah. “Seeing someone see photography with fresh eyes and be really intrigued by it, looking up to my profession, is really cool,” said Sydney. “I’m working by myself every day, so being able to give back is such a great feeling. Creating those friendships and knowing that my eyes are opened to his life and the things that he’s working through has helped me realize that my job can open up all these doors. It’s not just about the photos, but it’s also about the connections.”

Activity Kits

National Geographic Science Magic Kit

​Help 8-year-old Joe

Future Scientist

Get a science experiment kit to explore with his mentor!

​Help 9-year-old Myla

Future Artist

Get art supplies to create with her mentor!

Help 23-year-old Erik

Future Coffee Barista

Get coffee supplies to learn how to create specialty drinks with his mentor!

The pandemic showed many people what social isolation is really like. It also showed there are many other great ways to connect. That’s why we launched our activity kits. These mailed out packages provide fun activities for our mentors and kids/young adults to do together — virtually.

Reach Out to Us

Or contact Friendship@ConnectingChampions.org / 412.376.3755