Professional photographers volunteer at Familylinks

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Derrick and Aly Bash place a high value on photographs. As professional photographers and owners of Studio Bash, a studio on Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood, they know family photos can help preserve history and create lasting memories of special events.

But they also know that the cost of professional photos may be out of reach for some struggling families.That is why the Mount Washington couple volunteers to take family photos for the women residing at Familylinks, a family treatment center on Frankstown Road.

“It is something we can do for the families, to provide documentation that they may not have otherwise,” Mr. Bash said.

The couple was honored for their volunteer work with the Familylinks’ Priddy Award. Each year, the nonprofit human services organization recognizes volunteers who make a difference to the families they serve. The award was started in 2007 and is named after Kelli Priddy, a volunteer for Familylinks who organizes the annual shelter holiday party for the children and women at the shelters.

The couple started volunteering after Mr. Bash left his job as an independent support coordinator at Familylinks in 2009 to work full time at their studio. He had worked at the organization for four years. Mrs. Bash had already served as a photographer for some of the events, so they decided they would volunteer to take photos of the families at the annual holiday party.

Mr. Bash describes Studio Bash as a husband-and-wife photo team that takes professional portraits, including family portraits and graduation, wedding, and other special-event photos.

Each year, the couple takes their portable studio to the holiday party, where they take photos of the women and their children, and provide a framed-and-wrapped 5-inch-by-7-inch photo to each family. According to Mrs. Bash, the mothers love it. 

“It is always so wonderful to see their faces and smiles when they get the photos,’’ she said. ”And, it is a great way for us to be involved with Familylinks.’’

For Mr. Bash, volunteering allows him to remain part of the organization about which he cares so much.

“This is such a warm, generous and hard working group of people, and there are so many wonderful volunteers who do so much. I wanted to find a way to remain involved,” he said.

The couple were surprised and honored earlier this week when they were told of the award.

“Kelli [Priddy] is a great individual who extends herself all the time for Familylinks. She is an amazing woman and works so hard at planning the parties. To receive the award named after her is a huge honor,” Mrs. Bash said.

Her husband agreed. 

“There are so many great volunteers there, who are all deserving of this. We are just extremely happy to be selected,” he said.

Fred Massey, CEO of Familylinks, said Derrick and Aly Bash are exactly the kind of volunteers that the Priddy award exemplifies.

“Their volunteer work just shows how they remain committed to our families even though Derrick no longer works for us. And the families really treasure the photos,” he said.

Mr. Massey said the photos also help their mission.

“Our families are rebuilding their lives and relationships, and having the photos reinforces the idea of family to them,” he said.

Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer:

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