The Transylvania Times -

The Family Place Prospers From Porch Photos – Transylvania County, NC


Last updated 7/22/2020 at 3:50pm

Members of the Hill family were among those who took part in the fundraiser for the The Family Place of Transylvania County. (Courtesy photos by Rhea Frederick)

When the COVID-19 crisis forced local schools, businesses and nonprofits to shut down abruptly in March, Transylvania County photographer Rhea Frederick, of Kinder Studio Photography, worried about her own livelihood and the well-being of her community.

But she quickly took notice of a national trend that could make an immediate local impact: using quick "porch session" photo shoots to help families document the strange experience of quarantining at home, and donating all proceeds to a local nonprofit.

"After doing a little bit of research," said Frederick, "I decided The Family Place of Transylvania County would be the best recipient for this fundraiser. It's such an incredible resource for families in our community."

The Family Place offers many free programs to build resilience and community among families with young children through their drop-in playgroups, parent chats and parenting education classes at their Brevard and Rosman locations, as well as through collaborative programs with entities such as the Transylvania County Library, El Centro Comunitario Hispano-Americano, The Children's Center and GetSet Transylvania.

Frederick noted that The Family Place, like several area nonprofits, lost funding when United Way of Transylvania County was dissolved earlier this year, and she worried the organization might lose more funding while their programs were suspended due to the pandemic.

The Family Place Executive Director Erin Drew echoed the concern, saying, "The work of our county's incredible network of nonprofits is needed now more than ever, as families adjust to the financial, emotional, and educational impacts of the pandemic.

"We're so grateful to Rhea, and the proceeds from the porch sessions will help cover new gaps in our funding."

Frederick designed her porch session photo shoots to be easy, fun and safe for participating families.

She followed public health guidelines from both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, staying close to her own vehicle while families posed on their porches, front steps or lawns, and completing each shoot in about 15 minutes. Despite the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the statewide stay-at-home order, families were enthusiastic about the project.

"People are so calm and relaxed when taking photos in their own environments," noted Frederick. "There was no pressure for them to be anywhere or look a certain way. If they wanted to take photos barefoot in their pajamas, they could. That was the beauty of these sessions.

Katie Harris sits with her family on the porch.

"We were able to capture the memories of being home with family, and although many had been stuck at home for weeks, they still had smiles on their faces."

Frederick asked for a $20 minimum donation from each family. Additionally, one generous donor covered the cost of photo shoots for all families of the staff at Mountain Sun Community School, and another donated on behalf of neighbors.

The project generated so much interest that Frederick extended it by several weeks and raised more than $1,700.

To learn more about the work of the The Family Place of Transylvania County, visit

To see more photos from Frederick's porch session fundraiser and to learn more about her photography services, visit


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