I don't think it would be an overstatement to say that for the last 2 years Nick and I have lived and breathed The Archibald Project. It's always on our minds, always the topic of conversation and something that is near and dear to our core. I guess its like our little child ;) Up until now we have been so blessed with people volunteering their time to help see T.A.P grow and execute it's mission. Now, more than ever, we have come to realize that there are hundreds of people out there rooting for us, and want to see T.A.P succeed!!! And in order to see the amount of children called 'orphan' decrease, The Archibald Project would humbly and excitedly like to introduce our very first staff member!!! We have been praying that the Lord would bring the perfect person for the job, and of course He does not disappoint!
This particular young lady was a team member on our recent Media Mission to Uganda and since returning has already done some extraordinary things with her work!
But enough from me, take a few minutes and learn a bit about the newest member of The Archibald Project!
Drumroll please............. Meet Mrs. Valerie Keinsley!!!
Hi everyone! My name is Valerie, although I also answer to Mallory, Veronica, Victoria and Vanessa…because those are all apparently easier “V” names to remember than Valerie.
I live in the wholesome Midwest state of Indiana, smack dab in the middle of “flyover country.” I am newly married to the nicest, sweetest, rosiest-cheeked man named, Matt, and we share our humble abode with our rescue pup, Scout. Matt is a math and science guy with a penchant for alphabetizing things and I'm an artist who can never find her shoes. Somehow, it works.
I'm in a big fan of days spent wake boarding behind my parents' boat, camping and spending as much time with my family as possible. Oh, and really good beer. And travel. I'm pretty obsessed with travel.
I’ve always loved people and creating. In high school I realized I could combine the two when I got involved with my high school yearbook. I was the editor my senior year and stubbled upon a thing I would later know as “journalism.” I photographed and designed much of the yearbook and loved every second of the process! I chased that passion into college and received my degree in Journalism Design from Ball State University, which is best known for producing David Letterman. When I wasn’t in class or perfecting the chirp, I was honing my entrepreneurship skills, building my photography company, photographing weddings and portraits for family and friends. Throughout college, I was super fortunate to go on several mission trips, including a spring break trip to Haiti, where I discovered, mostly by accident, that I could inspire people through my photography. I snapped hundreds of pictures during the 7 day trip as we visited homes and schools. When I came home and shared those photos with family and friends and explained that many of the kids in the photos would no longer have breakfast and lunch provided for them at school because there was no money, people rallied. Money was donated and we raised enough funds to continue the lunch program until the end of the students’ school year. I was stunned. By sharing the photos and telling the kids’ story, people were moved. People contributed to changing those kids’ lives. And I was completely amazed and humbled to have been part of it. So, I started looking up “humanitarian photographers.” I started googling “how do I become a documentary photographer?” But most of all, I started praying. I started praying for the Lord to show me a way to use my passion for photography and story-telling to serve his kingdom. I started praying for a way to be both a wife and mother, as well as chase this passion. The message I was getting from all sides was that it wasn’t possible. There was no way to do humanitarian photography as your job, and also have a family. I felt like I had to choose, and I wasn’t prepared to do that just yet. So, I gave that desire of my heart to God and focused on finishing college.
And then came The Archibald Project. One day, scrolling through Instagram, I saw a photo calling for photographers and videographers to apply for a “Media Mission Trip” to Uganda. We would spend a week volunteering and photographing at an orphanage. Our mission was simple: to love on the kids and workers at the home, get to know them and their stories, and capture those stories to share with our communities back home. On a whim, I applied and was accepted, and what happened changed my life forever.
I fell in LOVE with Uganda. I felt so alive walking those red dirt roads and playing with the precious kids, laughing with the caretakers at the orphanage, and photographing everyone’s soulful eyes and bright white smiles. The same passion I had felt in Haiti was there again, and again those prayers surfaced. “Help me figure out how to make this my job, God. Show me how to keep doing things like this, if it’s Your will.”
And, as He promises, the Lord answered my prayers! When Whitney asked if I would be interested in a job with The Archibald Project doing design work and social media, traveling on adoption trips and possibly leading Media Missions, my whole heart was crying “yes! yes!” I took some time to talk it over with my husband and pray, and it was crystal clear. This is an answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for a long time, and I couldn’t be more excited to jump on board this adventure train with The Archibald Project and experience all that is in store! There’s certainly never a dull moment when you let Jesus run the show…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
You can reach Valerie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be setting up a donation link soon to help raise support for Valerie's part time salary! Stay tuned so you can help support our team!