I mean "JUST A DAD FROM AKRON",
Ok so no, I'm not a dad, or a mom for that matter but...….. THIS MOVEMENT is surely one that will inspire you!
I've been saying that I was going to write this blog for a long time now, and finally decided to sit down and put these experiences in writing! So even if you only made it this far... Thank you for reading!!!
My background with Just A Dad From Akron "JADFA":
Those who know me have probably seen this journey unfolding over social media for the past 10 months or so, but for those of you who have no idea what this company does I hope you will take a second to like, follow, and read up about this inspiring movement in Akron, Ohio. Kenny Lambert founded this company in March of 2020. Just A Dad From Akron creates custom printed apparel with inspirational messages, and uses the proceeds to put back into the city in community events and services. You can find more information at www.justadadfromakron.com
I didn't actually know Kenny, but I followed his journey on social media for quite some time and felt inspired to reach out to see how I could help. Our first of many projects together was a Portrait session giveaway for Founder's Day in June of 2020! What was supposed to just be a one time meet up for a giveaway turned into an amazing friendship and business relationship. I'm so grateful to be able to share these amazing memories with the Just A Dad From Akron Team, our community and its leaders.
During my time with the company I've gotten so many questions about why I rock a T-shirt that says "Just A Dad From Akron" on it when I'm clearly not a dad. Let me explain....This company is so much more than just being a dad. This company wants to inspire parents, future parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders, kids and community members to be the best version of themselves. To be proud of our city and continue to be better so we can all have safe and happy place to live. This movement was created to GIVE BACK to those in need and we have been so fortunate to see that in just one day you can change someone's whole world by a simple act of kindness. So wear that Just A Dad From Akron shirt with pride, because you don't have to be a dad to stand behind a movement this special. Its so much more than just a T-Shirt, and with every purchase you are supporting change and positive impact in the community.
I hope you enjoy a look at some of the beautiful experiences I was able to capture while working with Just A Dad From Akron.... Stay tuned because 2021 is going to be a BIG YEAR!
Feed the City Event
September 15, 2020
Kenny Lambert, owner of Just A Dad From Akron had it on his heart to FEED THE CITY, and that's exactly what he did! With the help of Betty's Bomb Ass Burgers a Cleveland based award winning food truck, Akron's own 4 Bro's & A Sis Lemonade Stand and the JADFA team we were able to provide over 500 free meals to the City of Akron.
The best part about this day was seeing our community come together to share lunch in this beautiful courtyard in the Kenmore neighborhood. Not a single person left hungry or without a smile on their face.
Back To School Giveaway
August 24, 2020
4 Bro's and a Sis Lemonade Stand is an Akron based company and much like Just A Dad From Akron they use a portion of their proceeds to put back into the community. This family is genuinely one of the hardest working families that I've ever had the privilege of knowing. I can promise that after one time of meeting them you will feel like family to them too! Young entrepreneurs Troy, Brandon, Jordan and Chase who I'm sure were inspired by their amazing parents Brenda & Dan are driven to serve the community by serving up North East Ohio's best lemonade at 2443 East Market Street during the warmer months.
When 4 Bro's and a Sis asked Just A Dad From Akron to team up for their back to school giveaway that was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. Together we were able to pass out over 200 book bags filled with school supplies, uniforms, free lunches and of course ice cold lemonade.
This is what COMMUNITY looks like!
June 21, 2020
Throwback to the first event that I captured for Just A Dad From Akron. The Father's Day Appreciation Event on Kenmore Blvd. in Akron, Ohio. Its humbling to look back at the beginning of the 2020 event season - mid pandemic and see how much things have grown since then. The Father's Day Appreciation Event was put together by Kenny Lambert, and there he gave away Gift Cards, Goodies, and of course Just A Dad From Akron T-shirts. Special guests included the Kenmore Astros, a JADFA sponsored baseball team who joined to share the love greeting passers by with waves and smiles. The team also presented Kenny with an honorary Kenmore Astros Jersey as appreciation for his sponsorship.
Stop the Violence Event
August 14, 2020
Sadly the summer of 2020 was one of the most violent summers in Akron's history debatably as a result of the pandemic and the effects that the world closing down had on our city. Together we met with members of our community in a local prayer garden to be together, to empower change, to pray, to mourn, and honor our loved ones lost to violence. Just A Dad From Akron's mission is to inspire change, and unfortunately change can not always be inspired by gift giveaways and breaking bread together. Sometimes it takes raw emotion brought on by a candle light vigil and an open forum to discuss topics like violence and the effects on our community to impact hearts on a deeper level. We never want to see another life lost to violence in our city and our hearts go out to the families of anyone affected by senseless violence, we mourn with you!
In Memory of Sebastian Spencer..
July 12, 2000 - February 21, 2021
Sebastian was a proud company representative for Just A Dad From Akron before he was taken too soon.
As you can see from the photos above (which are only a small glimpse of the 2020 JADFA projects) Sebastian was the right hand man to all of these. He had a huge heart for serving others, and genuinely wanted to change the world. I put together this blog post before I heard the news of Sebastian's passing, and taking this look back I felt I should share a little more about his role with Just A Dad From Akron.
It was like the stars aligned and in June of 2020 Sebastian, Kenny and I met and formed the most amazing friendship. I believe that at least for me personally, that the three of us were brought together for a bigger purpose and I'm thankful to have formed this friendship in a time where we each needed one another for different reasons. Each of us coming from different backgrounds of life, but all with one thing in common, and that was to help change the world!
Sebastian's title was "company representative" but he was so much more than that. From his help with remodeling the storefront (which opens March 6, 2021), organizing events, handing out over 1000 Christmas presents to families in need, or even helping to sling hotdogs at the Back to School event, He was such a humble person who would do whatever he could to lend a helping hand. He had no shame in helping others in any way big or small. Sebastian recently became a father in December of 2020 and he was so incredibly proud to be a dad to his little boy Kai!
I can guarantee that if you met Sebastian you would become instant friends because this kid had a heart of gold.
You didn't have to know Sebastian to be inspired by his story of sobriety, growth, and drive to be the best person he could be....He will be missed by so many!
Until we meet again.....You are always loved Sebastian!