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  • A distinctly personal experience. Your very best side. Breathtaking photography. This is our promise to you. When you entrust life’s unforgettable milestones to us, we’ll handle them with care and in turn, provide an unparalleled photography experience with images that bring you right back to your most joyous moments. Every. Single. Time.

Bethany VanOeffelen is a senior at Holland Christian this year. She joins our team with a desire to be a great role model as she models for Embolden. She hopes that she can offer a message that girls can do whatever they put their minds to, and that the choices they make directly impact their future and their ability to make a difference in their communities.

As a volunteer for Girls on the Run since her freshman year, Bethany loves the chance to encourage girls to accomplish anything they dream. She hopes that the girls she coaches learn to be strong and courageous in pursuing their passions and talents. Bethany also volunteers for Step Up, a mentoring program for middle school students who are at risk of dropping out of school. In this role, Bethany hopes to demonstrate a different path for students–to show them that the negative influences around them do not have to dictate their future.

Bethany’s mom told us this about Bethany in her letter of recommendation for her: “…Bethany is lovely, but also on the inside, where it really matters.  She is more than just a pretty face.  She has a deep and abiding faith in God.  She has had some serious health concerns but her struggles have made her stronger and more compassionate.  She is especially caring of children and she coaches Girls on the Run and works in daycare.  Her favorites are always the underdogs—the girls who aren’t athletic but still try, the kids who are homesick and just want to be held.  She has a real heart for those who suffer.  She loves animals and her best friend in the whole world is her dog, Teegan.  She’s also bright and ambitious and looking forward to college and life after high school.  She is ready for the challenge.”

Bethany, you are light to the students you care for, and certainly a light on our 2017 model team. Keep shining!

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Conner Wysong is a senior at Holland Christian, where he is recognized as a leader on the lacrosse team. A camp counselor during the summer, Conner spends the school year keeping busy with sports and volunteer work at the men’s mission in Holland. He is a great public speaker.

Conner’s English teacher, Ms. Rooks, sent this fun letter about Conner to us:
“Conner Wysong is without a doubt one of the very most memorable students I have ever taught.  I’ve taught for over 25 years, and I’ve taught thousands, so what makes Conner among the most memorable?  Is it because he is so big-hearted, compassionate, and kind?  Is it because he has the most incredibly inquisitive and questioning mind?  Is it because he is funny, witty, good-humored and at times, even hilarious?  Is it because he is incredibly bright, always making connections, always willing to think out of the box with questions so many don’t even begin to articulate?  Is it because he is incredibly generous, sweet, and yet always humble? Is it because he has heart for the vulnerable and a passion for justice and the rightness of things? Is it because he has the best smile, with the brightest light shining from within? Is it because you can look into his eyes and see something so good, so wonderful, and so real, you can’t even say what it is, but you know it is there?
I have no clue which of these things makes Conner Wysong so memorable to me.  I only know all of these things are true about him, and I suspect that it’s the combination of all of these qualities, all rolled into one young man, that make Conner the person he is, a person I’ll always remember, as long as I live.”

Conner has an unmatched sense of humor and keeps people around him smiling. As a senior model for Embolden, he brought a fresh dose of fun to the mix. It’s not easy being one of the lone boys on our team, but Conner found his place and fit right in. We’re so glad you could join us this year, Conner, and we know you’ll be off to great things in your senior year!

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A senior at Black River, Kayla Brothers, is on a mission to be confident in her own skin, and to radiate that confidence in a way that helps other girls to gain confidence, too. She wants every girl who feels “different” to see that society does not define her, but that she defines herself.

Kayla always makes an effort to practice what she preaches. She keeps a personal goal to seek out those in need and to change lives. Kayla volunteers at the OAC, where her brother attends. There, she and staff work to help disabled children to learn, grow and succeed. Kayla loves to listen and to be there for others, especially when she can see that they are struggling.

Kayla is a change maker because she has overcome adversity and strives to set an example of how to do so, using challenges to make a difference in a positive light. She hopes to show other girls that their skin color, size or other physical features do not define who they are, but that determination and dedication to being the best you can be is what really matters.

We loved reading what Kayla’s friend, Danae wrote about her: “Kayla has been my best friend for many years so it has given me the opportunity to really know her heart and what drives her passion.  She has overcome so much adversity and struggles in her life and has grown into a strong, capable young woman that God’s has planned for her.  And for that I feel so incredibly grateful to be a part in her journey.  As one of the strongest girls I know, she still somehow manages to balance three sports, above average school work, and stays dedicated to helping her family and taking care of her 9 year old disabled brother.  Kayla has not had it easy in life thus far but she uses those experiences to push herself to her full potential.  Kayla wants to become a neonatal nurse and I cannot see a more perfect way where her heart and talent could flourish.  To me a good role model stays encouraging and positive when things are looking low, hard working and a team leader/player.  Without a doubt Kayla has showcased these abilities through school and sports and life. Lastly, it’s no surprise that self esteem issues are common among high schoolers but this model will give so much confidence and passion to each one that participates, I for one cannot wait for Kayla’s dreams to start coming true and for her heart and passion to really shine through and make a positive impact on people’s lives, like she has made on mine.
She will make a GREAT (role)model.”

Kayla, we’ve loved having you on our team. You are truly beautiful, and we think your passion for freeing others of their insecurities is admirable. You certainly exude confidence and joy in these photos–so gorgeous!

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Danae Winia is a senior at Black River. She is passionate about environmental issues and creating awareness around them, working to make small changes in her daily life that can have a big impact in the world. Danae is also passionate about missions, after serving in Kenya last summer with her friend and family. There, she was able to work with different schools and disadvantaged areas. Meeting the needs of others in very tangible ways has inspired her to pursue other mission trips and to see God’s love moving in hard to reach places.

Danae also enjoys working with kids, helping out with the children’s program at her church and at vacation bible school. Her time with children in Kenya made a big impact on her life, and she hopes to seek out more opportunities to serve kids as a volunteer. In school, Danae is on the National Honor Society, where she has helped to coordinate several blood drives. She looks for chances to help better the community in whatever ways she can.

We loved reading these things Danae’s mom, Heather, spoke into regarding Danae in her referral letter: “Deeply caring and concerned about others, as a family this summer, we traveled to Kenya for 10 days, helping out families and loving on kids.  She can see a need and is always ready to jump up and help a cause.  I sense a great deal of humanitarianism in her and although she isn’t quite sure what to pursue after high school, it will be something that has deep meaning and purpose to utilize her amazing God-given talents.  She has volunteered with Ready for School handing out free lunches and helps out in church nursery twice a month being an inspirational role model for these kids as well…. Danae has risen through adversity with the passing of her father 4 years ago.  She continues to sit in struggle some days, yet preservers in journeying through it with a strong group of friends and mentors.  She LOVES Young Life and is excited to travel to Wilderness Camp this summer with some great people.  She grabs every chance she can to fully experience all that life has to offer her and she is excited about this opportunity with Embolden.”

A self-proclaimed introvert, Danae has a light spirit and brings her humor to the table when she gets comfortable. She hopes that her time with Embolden encourages others to express themselves for who they are and to be confident in offering their best to others. Danae, you have a beautiful heart and added so much to our team sessions this year. We’re so glad to have you!

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Hannah is a senior at Holland Christian High School. Her heart is to be someone who gives more than what she receives, offering her time and energy to people in need. Hannah recently had the chance to visit Beautiful Gate Orphanage in Lesotho, Africa. There, she ministered to orphaned children and witnessed extreme poverty and the world’s deep needs firsthand.

Hannah believes that students her age might doubt their ability to impact the world, but she doesn’t subscribe to that same idea. Instead, she trusts that she and her peers have the power to effect change in the world in big ways. She wants others to know that it’s important to take a stand and have a voice wherever they feel most passionate.

Her older sister Lauren (model team alumnus) said this in her referral letter for Hannah: “Hannah would make a great addition to the Embolden Studio team. Hannah loves fashion and taking pictures but most of all she loves interacting and creating new ties with everyone that crosse her path.  She loves to serve and give back to others in her community and those across the globe. This summer Hannah is headed to Africa to work with the orphans at Beautiful Gate. I have never seen someone so excited and so passionate to go out serve…Hannah has been asking me about this opportunity for the past few years so I know she would give this opportunity her all. I trust that given the opportunity she would represent Embolden with a positive attitude, be energetic and fun both behind the camera and outside of the studio. I truly believe that Hannah’s fun, outgoing, selfless and energetic personality would be a great addition to the Embolden Studio team.”

Hannah, we love your heart for others and your desire to champion this generation to head out and have an impact for good. We’re so happy to have you with us this year!

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