On Angels’ Wings seeks to capture joyful and rare moments a family shares amid a crisis. Offering free professional photographs to families facing the risk of child loss, On Angels’ Wings also connects families to community resources by partnering with local organizations and support groups.
Why was your organization started?
I saw a need. Several years ago I took photographs for an organization that provided pictures for families that suffered the loss of an infant at birth. While that was indeed a worthy cause (and a service we provide) if felt like there were just too many families facing the risk of losing their child that needed to have pictures, too.
The primary focus of On Angels’ Wings is providing professional photographs capturing the joyful moments a family shares in the midst of crisis—losing a child—whether that be during childbirth, or losing a child to a genetic disorder (such as SMA, Trisomy 18, etc.), child cancer, etc.
But the reach goes beyond providing photographs (though capturing those memories will be priceless—and an honor). We are also partnered with organizations like M.E.N.D., local churches, area counselors, etc. to provide continued care and support for families suffering such an incredible loss. We also help with organizations like the Logan Ruth SMA Foundation to help spread the word about the conditions that threaten the lives of the precious children we encounter.
But, most of all, I want God to use OAW to show these families that he loves them so very much. That he’s holding them. That his plans are so much bigger than we could ever comprehend (Jeremiah 29:11—my personal motto), even in the midst of such immense pain. That these children go through what they do because the impact of their experience on the world around them is far greater than any of us could hope to achieve living for 70+ years.
Whom does your organization serve?
We provide free professional photographs for families facing child loss from maternity to 18 years of age.
What services do you provide?
Please see our services page on the website: http://flyfreelittleone.org/about-us/services
How does someone obtain services?
They simply need to contact us. In an emergency situation at the hospital, they need to let their nurse know that they want one of our photographers there. We have a working relationship with both Springfield hospitals, and they let families know of our service as the need arises. But that requires every staff member to know about us, and that can’t always happen. So it’s important for families facing this situation to let the staff know they want us there and they will contact us to make that happen.
In non-emergency situations, recipient families contact us and we partner them up with one of our photographers who will work to schedule a session that will suit everyone’s schedule and the child’s needs.
None of our recipients need to fill out an application or anything to obtain services (though everyone must fill out a release prior to each session). However, recipients wanting maternity pictures must verify the prediagnosed condition of the child (a phone call from their genetics specialist, a letter from the doctor, etc) to obtain services.
Do you accept volunteers?
We do. Folks interested in volunteering to help with fundraisers and events simply need to submit a volunteer application. Photographers who wish to work with us must do the same. Both require references and full board approval. In regard to photographers, we have strict guidelines in place when it comes to the skills required because of the variety of lighting conditions and settings our sessions require.
More information is available here: http://flyfreelittleone.org/volunteer
What kind of donations do you need/accept?
Donations are accepted via Paypal (donation buttons are available at the bottom of our homepage) or via check. We received our 501(c)3 status in early October, which will allow us to apply for grants to help support our efforts, but we are still heavily reliant on monetary donations.
Is this a local chapter of a larger organization? If so, when did this chapter begin?
OAW is headquartered in Springfield, Mo. We officially registered as a non-profit in July 2013.
Contact On Angels’ Wings
Founder & President – Michelle L. Cramer
Vice President – Tora Thompson
Treasurer – Jackie Lawhon
Secretary – Julie Hulsebus
Recipient Liaison – Michelle Slavens
Hospital Liaison – Bridgette Burnside
Event Coordinator – Katz Strausser