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Everyone deserves a shot

By Courtney Bent, Everyone Deserves a Shot founder

In 1996, I came across a group of people in wheelchairs at an event I was photographing.  It turned out they were part of a program run by United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston. That night, they invited me to come visit some time and take pictures at their facility in Watertown, MA.  I took them up on their offer.

The following week I ventured over to United Cerebral Palsy. Once I met everyone at the program, I was inspired to try to figure out a way to let this amazing group of individuals with disabilities take their own pictures and tell their own stories.

With a little ingenuity (and a little help from duct tape and velcro) we were able to adapt cameras so that individuals like EJ, who is only able to move his head and neck, could take pictures. My husband, filmmaker George Kachadorian, encouraged me to bring a video camera along with me to document the progress of this project. Ten years, 250 hours of footage and thousands of photos later, we're finally able to share this story in our documentary film, "Shooting Beauty." (To see the trailer and to learn more about the film, check out our website http://www.EveryoneDeservesaShot.com)

Last week, NBC's Peter Alexander and a crew of his video sharpshooters tagged along as we presented the movie at one of our school screenings at the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge, MA.  The NBC crew even enlisted the help of one of our photographers—Tony Knight—to help shoot the piece!  It was a day to remember for all!

                  
                   Photographers Tony Knight and Courtney Bent

We had a great time working with whole NBC crew—Peter, Amber, Megan & Beverly.  Thanks to everyone at the NBC Nightly News for helping to tell our story!

                            
                        
     NBC's Amber Payne and Megan Marcus film photographer Tony Knight

VIDEO: Watch Friday's NBC Nightly News Making a Difference report on Everyone Deserves a Shot