Our innovative digital program, Eric’s Circle of Light (ECOL), honors our dear friend, Eric Spencer Richenstein (1982-2020). Eric loved his family, friends, his Golden Retriever Luna, and the great outdoors, and he was a friend to wildlife and children everywhere. He firmly believed in providing access to education and opportunity to young people most in need, and while we lost him much too soon, Eric’s legacy lives on through ECOL.

As schools and community centers were shut down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we consulted with specialists in the fields of science, math, art therapy and special education to adapt our in-person programming to be fully digital, giving students across the globe the flexibility to participate. In addition to theoretical and practical photography, our online instructors provide lessons and activities that help students to tell their own stories and learn valuable life skills. Through the ECOL program, we support the creativity and emotional well-being of young people who continue to be inordinately impacted by the pandemic and face ongoing challenges in their communities.

 Since its inception, Eric’s Circle of Light has provided nearly 5000 hours of instruction to more than 200 students. The demand for online learning is only increasing and we continue to add new program partners worldwide, most recently Opportunities for All in San Francisco, California and i3 Impacto Social in La Paz, Bolivia. In fact, one of our students from i3 Impacto Social is now an official Photo Start trainer! 

Portraits from our ECOL program in Kibagare, Kenya. Photos by (L-R) Esther, Haron, and Peter.

Our sincerest gratitude to the Richenstein family, our partners, and our supporters for helping us develop and grow this program, plus our amazing students for their quick adaptation to the digital format and willingness to learn in new ways. We are so pleased with the progress we have made, but know that there is still much more work to be done and more individuals and families to reach. 

We think Eric would be pleased, too.

Eric’s light is shining brightly, guiding our students to a future in focus.

Power up the light with a donation to ECOL.

Text ERIC40 to 44-321 or click: