Kelsey Klont
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided – The full board of directors: Emily Smith, Director; Michael Corrigan, Advisor and Director; Denise Hummel, Co-Founder and Executive Director; Sydney Hummel, Director, Secretary, and Treasurer; and Lori Brown, Director. )

The Focus On Love Foundation is celebrating their five year anniversary this month! This organization uses photography as a way for children to cope with their emotions and also helps parents learn emotion coaching alongside their child.

In July of 2018 Focus On Love received their 501(c)3 Non-Profit license and in March of the following year held their first workshop, an emotion coaching workshop for parents.

Denise Hummel, co-founder of Focus On Love, started the non-profit after seeing a decline in emotional coping abilities of young adults entering the workforce, and wanted to help families by using her love of photography as method of delivery.
Throughout the past five years, Focus On Love has helped dozens and dozens of families understand their childs’ emotions through a camera lens.

In addition to her career in Human Resources, Hummel previously operated a photography business. She found photography as an outlet to cope with emotions herself when diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to help the next generation with their emotions using photography as a creative outlet. Finding purpose in her diagnosis, she also wanted to give more of herself to something that would help others and that was when Focus On Love came to be.

There has been a major increase in depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other emotions over the past decade. Hummel told me, “There are no positive or negative emotions, they just are, its how we react to them that matters.” Using the Gottman method, an emotion coaching technique developed by Dr. John Gottman, Focus On Love’s board of directors have helped many families within the last five years. On the board of directors is Michael Corrigan, LMSW, ACSW who is a licensed therapist in the Gottman method.

“Emotion coaching resources for families” is the non-profit’s tagline and being the aid between child and parent is a very crucial connection. Helping the parents understand how their child feels, where they are coming from, and how to correctly communicate their feelings is the goal for the organization. Throughout the past five years there have been so many heart warming stories, some have taken place at their workshops. At these workshops, students use their knowledge of photography and the result is beautiful imagery that shows both their creativity and emotion. Workshops have been at Carlisle Lavender, Camp Frances, Mooville, and Mitten Misfits farm.

“A lot of good things have happened and a lot of good things are still to come. We are excited for the future,” Hummel told me while reflecting on five years.

To learn more about Focus On Love and the Gottman Method, visit their space located in Suite A1 of the historic courthouse of downtown Charlotte, call 517-541-4751, or visit their website . Their next parent emotion coaching workshop is on Saturday, March 16 at the Charlotte Community Library.