Tag Archives: community service

We Are Not Broken

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Nichola Cotto, Founder and President of a new nonprofit organization called We Are Not Broken

Nichola started We Are Not Broken as a way to encourage women and girls to view their scars (from injuries, accidents, abuse, illness, surgery, combat, …) not as something to be ashamed of, but as something that helps tell their story.  The concept is simple: provide free photography, spending time with the women and girls, in a safe studio environment, taking professional pictures and video that highlight their scars of survival and their true beauty.

Their website, WeAreNotBroken.org explains more about the mission:

Shame and covering up, isolation, hiding, and feeling depressed. These are words that are often used in relation to scars, especially for women and girls. They have fought the ultimate battle of life and death and come out victorious. Yet all too often they find themselves in a mental and emotional battle because of the devastation left on the their body. Our mission is to change that. We want to encourage and enable women and girls to proudly show their battle scars by redefining beauty. If you have scars from some kind of abuse, cancer, life-saving surgery, combat, car accidents, or any other type of life or death situation, please contact us. These are your hard-earned victory marks and we want to give you a platform to show the world your true beauty. You are courageous, precious, victorious, and made for more! You are BEAUTIFUL.

From the moment I learned about We Are Not Broken and met Nichola, I sensed this is a cause I want to wholeheartedly support in any way I can. Nichola has big plans for We Are Not Broken, envisioning taking this worldwide! In fact, I believe in the mission so much I am now on their Board of Directors!

Any of you who know me, know I believe we ALL should use our gifts to make a positive difference in this world.  [I talk about this a bit more in my earlier blog post ‘Reflections of an Old Photography Teacher’ ] This might be the perfect opportunity for you!

Learn more:

  • Volunteer: Want to learn more about this amazing new organization and how YOU can get involved? Email:
  • If you can’t volunteer to help, you can STILL HELP!
    Consider making a DONATION to support this organization!

On August 26th, 2019 we hosted an event and potluck dinner at my studio for attendees to come and hear Nichola’s story about how We Are Not Broken began.

We Are Not Broken had its official “ribbon cutting” ceremony today (July 30, 2019) at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce:

Check out this news story on KXAN:



An Opportunity to Create Brighter Holidays for Families and Individuals in Need


I am really excited to inform you about what Help-Portrait Austin is doing this year!  (Any of you who have taken my Photography 101 workshop may remember the video I show about the great work Help-Portrait is doing.)

Help-Portrait Austin creates brighter holidays for families and individuals in need.   A portrait is a treasure. It is hung on the wall or displayed on a mantle, or kept in a special album. It is a record of how we looked as children, the pride we feel in our children, and a legacy for our descendants. It is these portraits that most people would save from a burning house.

These photographic treasures can cost hundreds of dollars, putting them out of reach for many Central Texas families. Help-Portrait Austin is on a mission to provide those in need with the entire portrait experience, from hair and makeup to a fun photo session, to leaving with framed professional portraits.

Volunteers will gather to make this magic happen on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Boys and Girls Club of East Austin, 901 Thompson Street, Austin. More than 100 photographers, hair and makeup artists, photo editors, and other volunteers will welcome up to 200+ guests, turning the 1950s-era gym into a giant photo studio.

“It is an amazing event,” Event Director Regina Maldonado said. “I have a soft place in my heart when it comes to kids.” Maldonado has been involved in the Austin event since it was started in 2009 as part of Help-Portrait Worldwide.

All around the world, gyms, tents, homes, offices, and hotels are transformed for one day of fun, hugs, smiles, memories, and even a few tears. Guests at the Austin event range from extended families who lost all family photos in a flood to individuals who need a good headshot for a resume to families who dress up for a holiday portrait to treasure and share.

The event has created some special traditions, including an arts and crafts area and a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, who are happy to pose with young guests.

“I love looking at the photos and videos from past events from other cities as well as the Austin event,” Lorraine Miller, one of the volunteer coordinators with HPA, said. “They never fail to make me smile.”

As an all-volunteer event (HPA has no paid employees), the local group depends on the generosity of local businesses and individuals. The event requires photo supplies such as ink and paper, arts and crafts supplies, and food for the volunteers.

This year, HPA has expanded its focus to help the homeless and teens in foster care. On March 11, several HPA volunteers braved wet conditions to take portraits of homeless people (and some pets) as part of the SXSW Pop-Up Care Village sponsored by LavaMae and Encast. Photos were taken and printed on the spot, and guests received stamped envelopes to send the portraits to loved ones.

Another new initiative will be an add-on to the Dec. 2 event, as HPA will partner with Foster Angels to provide portraits to high school seniors in foster care. More information will be available soon!

HPA welcomes volunteers who can help with photography, photo editing, hair and makeup, or just a friendly smile. Volunteers who speak Spanish are always needed! To volunteer or for more information, visit the HPA website at www.helpportraitaustin.com

Monetary donations are accepted through Pure Charity, and are tax deductible. For information, contact Regina Maldonado at  or leave a message at (512)-748- 7751 or contact Cynthia Miller at  or leave a message at (512) 971-9092.

Let me know if you get involved!  I’d love to hear about any of you who volunteer!  


Kevin Gourley



How Photographers Can Support the Foster Care Community of Austin, TX


If you’d like to know more about supporting the foster care community of Central Texas, check out:

If you would like to be a volunteer photographer for Heart Gallery, CLICK HERE

And click here for more info about Eyes of Faith

We have a free event happening at our studio in NW Austin!  It is an opportunity for you to learn about ways photographers (and others) can support the wonderful foster care community of Austin, TX!   This event is hosted by a new photography group called Eyes of Faith that meets once a month at my studio.   Anyone and everyone is invited to attend.

Meeting Date/Time:
Monday October 2, 2017 7pm 

RSVP (please) to:   info@eyesoffaith.org so we can have an idea of how many people are coming!

Supporting the Foster Care
Community of Austin

We’ll be looking at ways everyone can support the foster care community in Austin.  People who step up to the calling of becoming a foster parent are amazing. What an incredible gift of love!   Even if you do not see yourself as ever becoming a foster parent, there are many other ways you can support the foster care community. Come and learn more from Dan Zieschang with Upbring.org.  Also Megan Ransom with Heart Gallery of Central Texas  will speak to us! Heart Gallery is a photography exhibit and community education/outreach initiative featuring children who are waiting for adoption.

Meeting Location:  Kevin Gourley Photography Studio, 11740 Jollyville Road Suite #400, Austin, TX  click here for directions

If you cant make it to the meeting, but would like to be a volunteer photographer for Heart Gallery, CLICK HERE

Click here for more info about Eyes of Faith and this meeting

RSVP (please) to:   info@eyesoffaith.org so we can have an idea of how many people are coming!