Kid’s contest benefits CMN

Plans are being finalized for the 15th annual Children’s Portrait Contest that benefits the Children’s Miracle Network. The sponsor of the contest, Phil Ziesemer Photography, Ltd., located in Merrill, donates the proceeds of the public voting to the local charity that helps sick children.

In 1999, after several years of sponsoring the contest, the studio decided to open the voting to the public as a way to raise funds for a local charity. The Children’s Miracle Network was selected because of its outstanding work with children and families challenged by illness. Since that time, Phil Ziesemer Photography, Ltd. has raised over $10,000 for the network which is headquartered at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.

Last year, Ben Thom, the son of Josh and Tina Thom, Merrill, won first place, while Ian McDonell, son of Vanessa and Bob McDonell, Wausau, placed second. Third place was won by Collin Gennrich, son of Mike and Aimee Gennrich, Merrill, and the Photographers Choice award went to Fawna Byer, daughter of Jessica Byer, also of Merrill. Each winner received a 16×20 inch wall portrait and a $50 savings bond from the studio.

“This is an event in which everyone wins,” says photographer, Phil Ziesemer. “Yes there are some portrait prints and savings bonds that are given away, but every entrant family receives a family portrait certificate too. Family portraits are so important because they show the love and growth of those who are most important in our lives,” he added.

This year the contest will run from Feb. 1 to March 4. The studio will lower its session fee and include a 5×7 inch portrait for the judging. After all of the parents have made their selections for the contest, the public will be able to vote with their dollars for the best, or cutest, child’s portrait. The top three winners are determined by the level of donations that are made. The photographer’s choice is selected by the studio. All of the money that is collected during the balloting is sent to the CMN.

“The donation to the Children’s Miracle Network was one of our first efforts to use our talents to help other people,” Ziesemer says. “From there we added our Turkey Daze promotion in the fall to help the Community Food Pantry. We charge our clients a frozen turkey as payment for a portrait session fee, and then we donate the bird to the pantry in the client’s name. I think that both of the events are good ways to raise awareness of the fact that there are people in our community that could use some help.”

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