From the October 2017 issue

Picturing Kindness: How One Photographer is Using Social Media to Promote Positivity

Local photographer instills kindness in kids through their love of social media. Find out what she's up to, what benefits it offers and how to get your kids involved.

Paying it forward is an important skill to teach children – one that Birmingham photographer Marla Must nurtures with Random Acts of Enchantment.

“It started as a social media experiment,” Must says. “A lot of kids love to have their photo on social media.”

Inspired in part by her own kids, who are now 10, 16 and 18, Must started her Instagram contest three years ago. Tweens post a pic to enter. Winners assemble a “team” of up to 12, including three new friends, for a free photo session with Must’s company, Enchanted Photography.

The tradeoff? They must “randomly enchant” unsuspecting peers at school with acts of kindness and report it back to Must, either via Insta or on Must’s website, to have their photos posted.

“It could be as simple as putting a nice message on a Post-it on someone’s locker at school,” Must says.

She tries to do six teams a year – there’ve been 24 so far – and says it has an impact.

“It’s a very empowering experience, especially for girls,” says Must. “The smallest act of kindness empowers the giver. We’ve had a really positive response.”

To enter Must’s Random Acts of Enchantment contests, kids need to have an Instagram account, follow EnchantedPhotographyMichigan on Facebook and post a photo with the comment “I want to be an enchanted ambassador from (name) school.”

To see past winners visit randomactsofenchantment.com.

Photo by Marla Michele Must/Enchanted

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