52 Families »

For the past several years, our volunteer photojournalist, Jim Bovin, has chronicled the lives of families staying with us.

jim bovin and family

“It’s a lot of fun,” Jim says. “I tell the parents to love their children up. Just love them up. I want to make the families as relaxed as possible. I’m documenting their lives, what they’re going through, and it’s important for them to have that through the years. They can look back and remember and say…‘we made it.’”

Bovin has selected 52 portraits to be included in an exhibit 52 families, with portraits on display throughout the year at our three locations.

the crawley family

The Crawley family loved their photo session with Jim. "He catches amazing, beautiful shots. We're excited to have his photos on our wall," says Kim Crawley.

“Every week when I visit the Ronald McDonald House, I see families,” says Jim. “Some are there for a brief amount of time and some are there for weeks that turn into months, and even into years. As I thought about the time they spend at the House while their child is being treated, it occurred to me that I could highlight one family for each week in a year. I chose the images very carefully – ones that I felt best represented each family and collectively were powerful as a whole.”

View an online slideshow of the images.

A photojournalist for 18 years, Bovin began volunteering at the House in 2008 and in the spring of 2009, he began to offer a portrait session to families staying there. The idea took off and he now photographs up to four families in a week.

Jim’s fun and laid-back approach is the key to the success of the sessions. He enjoys visiting with the families and they share their story with him, which he appreciates. There is a connection between family and photographer.

RMHC Upper Midwest Rieke Family Jacob Kylie and Avery Feb 5

Jim Bovin portraits are precious keepsakes for families.

Parents report the families enjoy the photo shoots as much as Jim does, and the images he captures amaze and touch their hearts.

“You can’t put a value on what Jim does for families – to chronicle their journey when they’re going through such a difficult time; it’s just the most incredible gift I can imagine.” – Sarah Nelson, Director of Communications | RMHC-UM.

Jim was honored at the 2012 Fam Glam gala where he was the recipient of the Don Shelby Service Award.

View the amazing video of Jim at work.

In 2012, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest served over 4,000 families. A force of over 10,000 volunteers cook and serve dinner at all three locations, tutor kids in the school, help with administrative and household work, drive shuttles to hospitals for families and many other things.


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