Three years ago, Charlotte Rosario took family portraits to make extra money but quickly had a change of heart because of the pandemic and decided to make donations to first responders.
Now, she is helping a photojournalist in Ukraine documenting the war.
Rosario, a sophomore at Nueva School in Burlingame, found a need for two of her passions, photography and philanthropy. She blended them together, which blossomed into a student-run organization she named Community Photobooth.
“Community Photobooth is about finding ways to raise money and awareness for important community needs and causes through photography,” Rosario said.
Since inception, Rosario has welcomed nine other students to contribute, built a website and ran three funding campaigns. One raised $13,000 toward National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national nonprofit organization focused on mental health.
This month she’s working on her fourth campaign, War is Personal, a fundraiser dedicated to Julia Kochetova, a 29-year-old Ukrainian photojournalist and documentary filmmaker based in Kyiv, whose goal is to publish a photo diary, also named, War is Personal It tells the unspoken stories of victims, defenders and soldiers in Ukraine. Kochetova’s goal is to inform the rest of the world the truths behind the Ukrainian war, according to the Community Photobooth website.
Rosario was first introduced to Kochetova’s project in October through the 24.02 Fund, an organization in Ukraine that helps support photojournalists. Kochetova is one of the journalists it supports. The Burlingame students reached out via Instagram to offer further assistance.
Ethan Huynh, videographer for Community Photobooth, made a video introducing Kochetova for the organization’s website and realized it helps donors understand why the students are interested and passionate about the organization or person for which they are funding.
He said he hopes the outcome of helping Kochetova is to tap into a larger audience to spread the word and ideas that Community Photobooth proposes, a community helping communities.
“We just want to make a positive impact around the world,” Huynh said.
Rosario’s hope, through the fundraiser for Kochetova, is to show the rest of the community in the Bay Area that advocacy and passion has no boundaries or borders.
“When we look at community needs, it is not only looking at our local community, it’s looking at the world as one community,” Rosario said. “It goes to show you don’t need any location-based connection, we all are connected as one world and so what we want to do is reach into these communities that we aren’t familiar with and see how we can support them from one community to another.”
So far the team raised $1,000 for Kochetova but its goal is $5,000, which Rosario feels confident in achieving.
There are two ways to support the Community Photobooth’s initiative. By visiting the website at communityphotobooth.com, donors can book a photo shoot with one of its student photographers. Pricing is based per hour and the booking calendar is available on the website. examples of the photographer’s previous shoots are displayed so donors can get an idea of what style best suits their photo needs. Half of the profits received from photo shoots go toward the current fundraiser.
The other option is to simply donate on the organization’s website, where 100% of the donation goes toward the fundraiser.
The organization is also expanding and looking for student photographers to help contribute to future causes. More information can be found using the website, where applicants can email the executive team directly and apply for a position.
The War is Personal fundraiser will continue through January and the team plans to announce its next philanthropic focus in the coming weeks through the organization’s website.