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Lehman Family YMCA to display ‘Precious Baby Project’ portraits

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – The Jackson R. Lehman Family YMCA will be the home to a unique gallery showcasing local children who are defying the odds.

Artwork created through the “Precious Baby Project” will be placed at the facility that serves northeast Fort Wayne.

The photos capture special needs children posed on an artistic, often fantasy-laden background by photographer Angela Forker.

Lehman Family YMCA Board Chairwoman Sarah Kakish saw the pictures online and fell in love with them.

For Kakish, whose brother has spina bifida and grew up using crutches, it was an opportunity to inspire and educate YMCA visitors.

“I was the sister of a brother where little kids would come up to him and say, ‘what’s wrong with you?'” she said. “And it wasn’t because they were mean. They were kids.”

Part of the “Precious Baby Project” is displayed in a gallery at the Jackson R. Lehman Family YMCA.

Kakish sees the display as a means to change perceptions.

“I thought, ‘man, if we could put these pictures right out here where the kids are playing, it’s going to become something more familiar.’ You know, when they do see these kids now, it’ll be like, ‘oh, that’s like the little boy we saw in the picture at the Y when we were there.”

She calls the project “a movement” that can foster change.

“To me, we’re making that change. And that’s important to me.”

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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