Volunteer Spotlight: Christian Santiago

Christian Santiago is a volunteer photographer who travels throughout the state to take pictures at SOMA events. Christian donates his time, expertise, and equipment to capture the many special moments of SOMA and shares his pictures with the SOMA community on our Smug Mug page:

“Last year I found out that one of my nephews has a special condition which causes him seizures, speech impairment, and prevents him from having full mobility. One of my best friends also just had a son who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I wanted to help, in one way or another. I wanted to understand, to know what it’s like to work with a child with special needs.

Around spring time, the company I work for was promoting and encouraging volunteering for the Summer Games, so I decided to check it out. While signing up, I didn’t know what to expect, but once I saw that there were positions available for photographers, the decision was obvious. Photography is my hobby after all.

Photography is about the moment, so I wanted to capture the action and emotions happening so that I could share it with everyone else. I felt these athletes deserved this for all of their hard work. Being my hobby, I also wanted to use the opportunity to have fun and work on my photography skills.

While volunteering at Summer Games, I met a lot of people who were really happy to see me taking pictures. Asking the athletes for team pictures was very exciting for them, too. Some of the athletes made it known that they really wanted to see the resulting pictures. Some even asked if I could send a copy directly to them, which I did right after the tournament.

After the Summer Games, I learned that there were more events to come. A lot of them sounded fun, so of course I volunteered again. Softball, bocce, equestrian, and even a halloween themed 5k. All of these events were a lot of fun to volunteer with, especially the Amherst Trick-or-Trot with everyone dressed in costumes!

Volunteering as a photographer has been a lot of work with the travel and processing hundreds of pictures per event. But even with all of the work, it has been very rewarding. I’m glad I’m giving to a good cause!”

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