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Amber serves a home-cooked dinner to 100-250 displaced people in a downtown Reno parking lot four nights a week. She feels these people are her guests and treats them as such.


A favorite moment: "Caring for someone. Everyone has a love story, but mine didn't go well."


A favorite moment: "I became a guerrilla in Southern Sudan."


A favorite moment: "When I found peace in my heart and love." Victor returned the next night, shaved, to take a photograph for his daughter in Mexico whom he has never seen.


A favorite moment: "Haven't had it yet. At least I hope not."


A favorite moment: "When I joined the military. They just taught me."

Cathy and Laura

Favorite moment: Cathy, "When my kids were born." Laura, "Right now I feel joy in my heart. I feel peace even though I am at the bottom, I feel light."


A favorite moment: "Played at the Filmore."

Reverend EJ Evans-8

A favorite moment: "Blessing the food for Amber."


A favorite moment: "On the Bering Sea. Everyone was asleep, I sooted alone at the wheel in 60 ft waves."


A favorite moment: "I just want to go home."


A favorite moment: "Graduating from college with a an associates in applied arts and science. I picked the wrong profession."


A favorite moment: "My family said good-bye to me twice. I'm going to show off a photo and show that I made it."


A favorite moment: "When God came into my life I stopped being a robber, cheater and a liar and started helping people around me." This was Bryan's first photograph in 20 years.

Amber's Guests

Loves cupcakes!


"I have no one left. Parents, five sisters all gone. Yesterday was my birthday. I am seventy-five."


"This is the biggest smile I've had since I saw my kids."


"I want to be a good grandmother and be with my kids and have a conversation with them about life. I have to keep myself together."


"I like this picture. I'm peaceful, like somebody I want to be, like me talking to me."


Elijah dressed as an army man because his uncle is in the army, and he wanted to send him a picture.

Paul and Terrance

"Wishes are all for Terrance. Everything is for him."


Once Michael gets his tax money, he is going back to Alaska to live in the bush.


"This is the face of homelessness."


"I look like my father. My dad will love this picture."


As this photograph was being taken, Christopher's 18 year old mother was in the hospital having a premature baby. Christopher is four years old.


"I have one more month here--no money, just food stamps. I don't know where I am going. My English is no good. I need to study more. I am proud that I am free, no bills, my record is clean."


"I love math!"


"When you get down you just want to lay there. I don't because of my boys. I don't want them to think their mom is a quitter."


Dennis has two children. Dennis has two grandchildren. Dennis has cancer.


"I didn't tak a picture in so long I didn't know what I look like. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."


"I look so much like my grandmother." Charity wants to become a commercial truck driver.


"People feel intimidated by my looks, freaked out. I used to get mad about it, but I got used to it. I think what if I was in their shoes?"


One of Alexandra's favorite memories is traveling around the United States and Canada with her finance', hopping on freight trains and hitchhiking. She will use this photograph for a Mother's Day present.

This collection is  a photographic essay capturing the beauty and personal strength of men, women, families and children seeking help in their rise from poverty.  All photographs were taken on the Volunteers of America, Reno campus within the Men, Women and Family Shelters or outside in the parking lot with Amber.  

Each person was given several framed photographs of themselves as part of this project. After years of feeling "invisible" seeing themselves in a photograph, strong and dignified, was powerful, overwhelming and resulted in conversation, laughter and often tears.


Part of this collection was on display at Metro Gallery as part of the 2015 Art Town Celebration.

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