Lifetouch Memory Mission 2020: The Spirit of Giving

Giving back is at the very heart of Lifetouch. The Memory Mission has been the cornerstone of Lifetouch’s Give Back efforts since 2000. Most recently, in January 2020, 50 volunteers returned to Rio Grande, Dominican Republic to add on to a school that was built in 2016-2018. The team worked side-by-side with local construction workers to build the walls of a two-story building that will be the school library, a computer lab and a community infirmary. View highlights of the 2020 Lifetouch Memory Mission recap video with President-Elect Anna King and the other volunteers.

During the 2019 National PTA Convention & Expo, Colleen Hervey, president of Ninth District PTA in San Diego, Calif. was selected through a drawing to participate in the 2020 trip.

“Working with fellow volunteers to build an addition to the Cecaini school was so rewarding. However, building relationships with the children and families there was the real prize. Although they have very little worldly possessions, they were willing to share so much love and generosity. We were supposed to be the givers, but it turned out that we received so much more than we gave. I left a piece of my heart in Rio Grande!” Harvey said.

National PTA President-Elect Anna King was also a volunteer on the 2020 trip.

“Playing with the children showed me that love has no borders, no limits and no barriers, no matter where we are from. All children need love,” said King.

The 2021 Memory Mission was scheduled to take place in rural Guatemala in January, working with a local community to construct an environmentally responsible schoolhouse made from bottles and inorganic trash. In August 2020, Lifetouch made the tough decision to postpone the January 2021 trip, prioritizing the safety and well-being of all our volunteers and everyone in the rural Guatemalan community.

“Lifetouch has a long legacy of giving back and the Memory Missions exemplifies that spirit of community, giving and shared experiences through photography and a commitment to education. We look forward to continuing our partnership with National PTA in making a difference,” said Johnny Grant, vice president of sales for Lifetouch. 

In addition, we have deep empathy for the many difficult decisions being made right now by superintendents, principals, and education professionals. Lifetouch supports and appreciates the adaptability demonstrated to start the 2020-2021 school year.

The Lifetouch Memory Mission team and National PTA arecommitted to making a difference and giving back. We join all of you in looking forward to the day when we are past this pandemic, and when we can safely bring joy to communities across the world. At this time, Lifetouch is postponing plans to work with the community in Guatemala to January 2022. Details about this decision are available on our website, www.lifetouchmemorymission.com for more information.

We are excited and look forward to continuing our legacy of giving back with National PTA in January 2022.

Tools and Resources to Help Keep School Children Safe

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Try as we might, it’s impossible to protect our children from every danger in the world. Although we wish for full-body bubble wrap, implanted GPS, and a spectrum of safety gadgets for our toddlers, youngsters and teenagers, we eventually realize that with each passing year, they become more independent. So, we teach them “rules” to keep them safer—don’t talk to strangers, tell a parent if someone touches you inappropriately, and be careful who you interact with online.

Statistics show good reasons to be cautious. More than 2,000 children are reported missing each day in the US. The risks multiply with age and exposure to the Internet. It is reported 1 in 25 children between the ages of 10 and 17 receive sexual solicitations online, where a solicitor attempts to make offline contact with the child. That’s why as parents, it is important to have resources and tools to help keep kids safe.

For more than 10 years, Lifetouch, the leading provider of school and family photography, has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help provide law enforcement with the most valuable tool when a child goes missing—a current photograph. Each year, Lifetouch distributes SmileSafe® photo ID cards, free of charge, to families where Lifetouch provides school photography. Since the inception of the SmileSafe program, more than 300 million cards have been distributed.

If a child is missing, parents can share the SmileSafe card with law enforcement. Each card lists the phone number for the National Center and unique access codes for retrieval of photography. When the National Center receives a call, it contacts the Lifetouch Rapid Response team to forward a current photograph to law enforcement, 24/7.

This fall marks the launch of SmileSafe—a national safety program, which will make electronic and paper ID cards and resources for online safety readily available in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Lifetouch is proud to have expanded this program, providing parents with valuable tools to help keep their children safe or help to bring them home if they go missing.

Watch for more information about SmileSafe—a national safety program at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.  Additional safety tips and resources from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children are available at missingkids.com.