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(Photo provided by Lauren Guillen)


NJ Sports Photographer, Lauren Guillen, Raising Funds For Local Youth Holiday Gifts

Lauren Guillen has created a GoFundMe fundraiser page in an effort to raise money to purchase holiday gifts for children of need in Union City.

Sports photographer, Lauren Guillen, knows how special the holiday season can be and is doing her part to make sure this year, the children of Union City, New Jersey have the opportunity to experience that same joy she remembers from her childhood. She has created a GoFundMe fundraiser page in an effort to raise money to purchase holiday gifts for children of need in Union City.

It’s been a tough year for Guillen, as it has for many of us as the worlds continues its battle through the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have closed, restrictions have been put in place all over the country, events have been cancelled, and children have lost things that at one time were part of their daily routine, like attending school in person with all of their friends.

Guillen has not been able to cover as many sporting events with so many being either cancelled or limited on spectators. She had covered many games for NJ Sports Media and a former tri-state area outlet, Double G Sports.

“It has been quite difficult to continue photographing during the pandemic,” she told In The Zone. “I have attended only two high school games this year. Because of the limitations on social gatherings and social distancing it was difficult to be in attendance or acquire credentials to photograph the games.”

Her brother, Luis, is a teacher in Union City, and her father grew up in the Northern New Jersey town. She knows how tough times can be for children growing up in small cities. She also knows how important the holiday season is for so many families.

“Every Christmas Eve my family and I traditionally spend that time by having dinner at my Abuela and Abuelo’s house with my aunts and cousins and we truly have a good time,” Guillen recalled. “We eat, we laugh and finally we exchange gifts. In my opinion many of us take this for granted. My mom and dad always told me not to take things for granted and that not everyone is as fortunate to celebrate the same way or fortunate to receive presents under the tree. I didn’t realize the importance of what he was saying until I became an adult and then you see it with your eyes. It breaks my heart to think of a little kid waking up and not having a gift under the tree. It is for that reason that I started this gofundme page. I wanted to make a difference at least in some children’s lives this Christmas. It is my first year and hope to grow it next year and affect even more children.

I chose Union city because I remember my father sharing stories growing up in Union city. It’s a great town with great people and my abuela and cousins still live there. Most importantly I chose Union City cause that’s where my big brother, Luis, teaches math at Union Hill Middle School. I believe he is making a difference in kids lives, he has a big heart and is involved in coaching sports just like our dad did for us.”

By creating the GoFundMe fundraiser, Guillen is hoping she can provide some excitement and joy to you children in a town that still means so much to her. With the funds raised, she will shop locally when purchasing gifts.

“With the money I raise, I will personally be going to a local Walmart and purchasing toys for children of different ages and genders,” she said.

In a year that has turned our world upside down, it’s gestures like the one from Lauren Guillen, that helps remind us there is plenty of good in the world. This holiday season will be one to remember for many young children in Union City, because of this young sports photographer and anyone that donates in support of her cause.

To donate to this great cause, visit the GoFundMe page. Here at In The Zone, we support local charitable efforts like this one.