March 26, 2018 8:23 pm
Updated: March 27, 2018 7:48 pm

Outpouring of support for Saskatchewan photography club after Global News story

WATCH ABOVE: There has been an outpouring of support from across the country for a group of photographers in northern Saskatchewan.

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A group of photographers in northern Saskatchewan received an outpouring of support from across the country after sharing their story with Global News.

Over 20 digital SLR cameras, a tripod, telescope and over $1,000 has been donated to the Pinehouse Photography Club from people across Canada.

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READ MORE: Photography club inspires youth in northern Saskatchewan

“After our story aired on Global News we actually had a big influx of positive messages from all over the country,” club founder and local nurse Dre Erwin said.

“It really means a lot to us. It sends a message that people actually do care,” Jonah Natomagan, Grade 12 student and club member, said.

Since the club’s inception over a year ago, the gathering of young adults has transformed countless lives.

“I had some problems with depression, anxieties, panic attacks, suicide thoughts – photography has changed my life,” club member Laura Smith said.

The mayor of the remote northern Saskatchewan community was so inspired, he gave the group a room right by his – inside the village hall.

“Once you see growth in the community, everybody’s proud of it and we all want to be a part of it, in the same bus and going the same direction. We’re choosing the positive lifestyle, which is so great,” Mayor Mike Natomagan said.

“These are our future leaders so they’re going to bring so much good to the community.”

The Pinehouse Photography Club is inspiring people across Saskatchewan.

Courtesy: Daniel Despins viz Facebook

“The studio, the workplace, the computers – I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say,” club member Trish Natomagan said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan woman wins people’s choice award in national photography exhibition

It’s been over a year since a suicide crisis claimed six lives in one month in northern Saskatchewan.

Since then the province’s advocate for children and youth, Corey O’Soup, has spoken with thousands of youth and compiled a report titled “Shhh… Listen!” He says a lot has been learned and Pinehouse is leading the way.

“I believe our community members have the answers – start a photography club, start a music club, do different types of things so we can occupy our kid’s time,” O’Soup said.

“The things that they’re doing is amazing,” Corey O’Soup said.

“These kids are realizing that the more and more they start looking for beauty through the lens of a camera, the more and more they start seeing it in everyday life,” Erwin said.

“I don’t think about my anxiety when I have the camera in front of my face,” photography club member Kassandras Boyd said.

Daniel Despins had been dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts and while being hospitalized in La Ronge he saw Global News’ story on the photography club come up in his social media feed.

“I admired what he was doing in Pinehouse and I was hoping to follow some of the things he’s doing,” Despins said.

A Facebook post Daniel Despins made on how the Pinehouse Photography Club inspired him during a difficult time.

Courtesy: Daniel Despins viz Facebook

Shortly after seeing the story he was able to leave the hospital, which he credits to his passion for photography being re-ignited.

The club hopes they can raise enough support to purchase new cameras so they can reach out to even more people.

“What’s the next step to make this bigger and inspire others in different communities, not only in Saskatchewan, but all over Canada,” Jonah Natomagan said.

“The voices of the kids in northern Saskatchewan, if you’re listening, your voices are being heard all across the world,” O’Soup said.

Anyone who would like to donate to the club can visit its GoFundMe page.

Dre Erwin filming a commercial that is expected to be released later this spring.

Courtesy: christopher.triffo via Instagram

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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