Calendar of support
Tomah photographer Kathy Richer has been working hard for months to put together her second 13-month calendar to raise awareness for domestic violence and funds for Brighter Tomorrows.
Last year, Richer and her group, Calendar Girls Against Domestic Violence, raised $2,317, which was donated to the organization.
“I’m actually a survivor of domestic violence and I’ve always tried to do something to give back,” Richer said. “It’s good for me to be able to help somebody else.”
Having gone through an unsafe situation herself, Richer feels very passionate about shedding light on the effects of domestic violence in Monroe County.
“It’s something you do not get over. I’ve been out of my situation for five years now and there are still things that trigger those memories,” she said. “It is always with you.”
Richer wanted to do something to help local men and women struggling to get out of violent situations. Two years ago, she had the idea in her head to put together a calendar to raise money for Brighter Tomorrows.
Richer, who specializes in boudoir photography, threw the idea out to a group of women she works with. She wanted to bring other survivors together to create a calendar to raise awareness and money that would support other victims.
The theme for the last calendar was “1950s Pinup Girls.” Richer wanted to switch it up and hopes to do something new every year.
This time the theme of the calendar was “Our Hometown.” Richer did photo shoots pertaining to the area to coincide with the month, such as featuring cranberries in September and a tractor puller from Norwalk in June.
The calendar also features the Oakdale Fire Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the local chapter of the Guardians of the Children and many other participants.
“We sort of drew in everybody from the area and there’s not a lot of models this time, it’s more about featuring organizations,” Richer said.
Last year, Calendar Girls Against Domestic Violence held a garage sale to raise money for the printing costs of the project. Richer said this year several organizations and businesses sponsored the group to pay for the printing costs; she was impressed with how supportive the community was.
The group is printing more calendars this year and Richer hopes to raise more money for Brighter Tomorrows than last year.
“After the donations from the community for the pages, some of them gave even more and we already have a padding to start out with,” she said.
The calendars will go on sale Oct. 1 and will be available for purchase at Superior Designs in Tomah, Portage Tire and Auto Portage. The group will also be selling calendars at Walmart on Oct. 18 and the Brighter Tomorrow’s fundraiser on Oct. 24.
For updates, watch the Calendar Girls Against Domestic Violence Facebook page. Individuals can also contact Kathy Richer Photography at (608) 344-1750 to purchase calendars.
“I love doing it and Brighter Tomorrows benefits and that’s such a great organization because domestic violence is on the rise,” Richer said. “It’s nice to be able to help them out and give back to the community.”