2018 promises to be a robust year. "Snapshots of Joy" is already scheduled to take place with seven partners, in 11 venues, serving more than 300 children through July. This fall high school students will participate in the program for the first time. Three new partners have been added and conversations continue with other potential partners as word of this valuable program spreads. Plans to hire FOV's first employee are in place to accommodate the growing demand and provide administrative support. All of this is made possible through the support of FOV's donors, whose generosity ensures that there is no cost to the children or their families for participating in "Snapshots of Joy". Thank you to our donors and partners for providing youth the opportunity for self-discovery through self-expression.
FOV’s Early Years
“Snapshots of Joy” was launched at The Sharon Public Library in June 2015. A small but impassioned group of young girls completed the project and their framed work was exhibited at the library in November 2015. Funding to support an additional 115 children was secured and plans to reach twice that number in 2016 were put into place. A partnership with Citizen Schools was launched in February 2016, and a second session was held in The Sharon Public Library. Unfortunately, our founder suffered a debilitating ankle injury in June 2016 and had to cancel summer programming for an additional 76 children. Nonetheless, by the fall of 2016 FOV was up and running again in Sharon Middle School and Cottage Street Elementary School. That positioned FOV to have a banner year in 2017, when 316 students were served in 10 different venues.
FOV was born out of tragedy, when founder and Executive Director Ann Beach’s daughter, Victoria McManus, then 26, died as a result of relationship violence. Soon after Victoria was killed, Ann knew she would found a nonprofit to honor her beloved daughter's memory and promote the things Victoria valued most – helping young people, writing and creating art. She believed that when Victoria died a burst of positive energy was released into the world, and Ann was resolute she would find a way to channel that legacy. Victoria, a historian by training, was also an accomplished artist and writer. She cared deeply about social justice and had worked with under-resourced youth in rural Louisiana and in her adopted home city, Chicago. Ann knew she wanted to help all youth find constructive ways to express what was in their hearts and on their minds to give them the confidence and inner fortitude to choose grace, kindness, and compassion while living their lives.
Remarks made at Victoria's funeral by Peter, her father, provided the inspiration for the organization's name. There he initiated the 500+ in attendance into a special club, "FOV: Friends of Vic.” FOV bumper stickers were delivered to the family home the next day and have been distributed in numerous states and countries ever since. Ann borrowed the acronym; FOV would also stand for Finding One's Voice. Finding One’s Voice, Inc. was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on September 29, 2014, on what would have been Victoria’s 27th birthday.
FOV was granted 501(c)(3) status in October of 2015 by the IRS.