‘Ripple effect’ connects Debra Kaplan to nonprofit photography work throughout metro | Lifestyles

“I was basically the documentation of life wherever I went,” she said. “Whether it was at school or community events. Wherever I went, I had my camera with me.”

After she retired — though she still subs — those connections at Westside led to her current role as a photographer blossoming. For example, Kaplan took photos at the announcement event for Career EdVantage, a mentorship program for southwest Iowa students connected to Omaha-based Avenue Scholars. The CEO of Avenue Scholars is former Westside Superintendent Ken Bird.

“I do a lot for Avenue Scholars. It’s so cool they brought it over here,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan listed off a number of nonprofits she’s done work for during an interview, including Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Completely Kids, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Northstar Foundation, the Immigrant Legal Center, Ronald McDonald House, Project Harmony, No More Empty Pots and others on both sides of the Missouri River. She’s also done photos for Life Dimensions by Ilona, and on the journalism side, Today’s Omaha Woman Omaha, Metro Magazine and The Reader.

“It was a ripple effect from Westside Schools,” she said, listing people she knew from the nonprofits that led to demand for her services growing on both the nonprofit and business side. “Just this amazing ripple effect.”

She also shoots the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network walk in Omaha, one that has extra meaning, as her mother died of the disease.