POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Every day we hear stories of people in our community stepping up and giving back to Rowan Sweeney’s family. Sweeney was shot and killed in Struthers on Sept. 21.
A local photographer is using her talents to remember Sweeney by making sure he gets a special playground.
On Friday at Countryside Farms in Poland, Kaley Toth photographed families, a routine job that any photographer is used to.
“I knew I wanted to use my passion for my photography to give back,” she said.
But these pictures serve a different purpose, to honor Sweeney and his family.
“It’s just supporting the family and loving on the family and making sure this little boy is remembered and he gets the playground he deserves,” Toth said.
Families who signed up paid for five digital pictures, including one with a picture of Sweeney that will be included in a photo book that Toth is donating to his family.
“They need to heal and that’s what his dad’s doing with the park and I think that’s great,” said Youngstown resident Michelle Matos.
Matos said she had been wanting to get family portraits done for a while, so when she saw this opportunity while also donating to the playground, Matos knew that’s what she should do.
“Anything that is going to help their family, everybody is going to want to do it,” Matos said.
For Toth, she hopes Sweeney’s family will look at these pictures and see that the community is always there with them.
“He was loved. He was a loved little boy and he was so happy and everything and even people that didn’t know him personally are here to support the people in our community and show that we’re all grieving over him, even though we might have not known him personally,” Toth said.
There will be two more photography sessions to benefit Sweeney’s playground. One will be this Sunday and the next on Oct. 24.
For more information on the photography sessions, click here.