Photographer raises over $100,000 for kids with annual contest
20 years ago Gayletta Thompkins came across the best idea at a photography conference. She would create a spring “Kiddie Kontest” utilizing children’s portraits from her studio, Gayletta’s Photography, to raise funds for sick and injured children in the community through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
The contest idea was simple. Ask parents to enter their child’s photo in the contest and ask the public to pay $1 to vote on the winner. The culmination of the contest is at Central Mall in Port Arthur, Texas each April and provides a great day of fun for all involved. Fast forward 20 years and the contest has become a Mid-Jefferson County institution. Parents who were once in the contest now are entering their own children. Over the years new elements have been added, but the contest remains essentially the same. In that time, an incredible $100,000 has been raised to support children from newborns to teens from the entire region and 100% of the proceeds raised locally, stay local.
These funds assist children who have a need for hospital services, many with life threatening and devastating diseases and injuries. Examples of care that local CMN Hospitals provide includes: flying a young girl and her family to Boston and assisting with life-saving surgery costs; supplying state of the art care for tiny babies born too soon; providing X-Box consoles to children in the Pediatric Department to make them feel safe and secure during their hospital stay, and producing a video for children and their families before surgery.
What Gayletta’s story illustrates, is that you don’t have to be big to make a big impact!