Eye See You AFRICA by Dr. Jay
Illustrations by Shelley Wapniak
Foreword by Jack Hanna
Hardcover & dust jacket
Dr. Jay's Eye See You books, contests, merchandise and charitable donations.
Imagine the possibilities if everyday people could effortlessly become stewards of the earth via communal philanthropy for the express benefit of the innocents of the world. Why not? EYE SEE YOU will give everyone that capability – globally.
Let me introduce myself and explain what my website and project are about.
As the director of emergency services at Milford Hospital in CT, I have been practicing medicine for over 30 years.
During my medical school education at SUNY Upstate in Syracuse NY, in 1975 I had the opportunity to spend 3 months of my training in Liberia, West Africa (prior to the violence of Samuel Doe and the blood diamond war and terror of Charles Taylor). As a young medical student living amongst the native population and visiting missionaries, as a witness to poverty and diseases such as neonatal tetanus, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, parasites and leprosy, even then I wondered if being there was no “accident”, and if one day I might somehow help the innocent children I met in any meaningful way.
Fast forward decades later to 2010. For my 60th birthday my wife surprised me with a photo-safari in South Africa. Since childhood I have dabbled in painting, drawing, and photography, but recently became exclusively devoted to the world of digital photography, graduating from the NY Institute of Photography, This trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe brought me back to the world I had witnessed decades before, but with the added amazing element of marvelous animals in their natural habitat (Liberia was devoid of animals - I was told that most had been killed and eaten long ago). As anyone who has had the privilege to do, living amongst wildlife in their natural habitat can be a life changing experience.
Upon my return to the “reality” of life back home, I contemplated on how I might utilize my experience as an opportunity to share with others, particularly children. In 2011 I decided to compile some of my photographs into a book. A simple idea, albeit an “already done that idea”, a perhaps boring idea, but nonetheless a way to share my experience.
Then I had a better idea. What if my book of photographs became a book specifically for children. in order to bring them close/up front with nature? What if I created a book that was engaging for children by becoming a game? What if the book had global appeal? What if the book became an unlimited series of books? What if the book could somehow directly benefit its audience as well as its subjects (i.e. the children & the animals of the world) rather than being merely another bedtime story? What if the book could expand beyond being only a book? And what if the book could become a self-sustaining philanthropic project? Now that would be a worthwhile endeavor.
What began as a simple “photo gallery” of my trip to Africa for friends and family to see, has become a living project with the expressed intent to benefit the children and animals of the world – i.e. the “innocents of the world“.
We have created two characters (Dr. Jay & Miss Caroline) who in this inaugural book lead children on safari in Africa (EYE SEE YOU – AFRICA). Through a camera’s viewfinder, with close-ups on animal “eyes” and clues in rhyming/riddle format, the reader must figure out what animal they are taking a photograph of. The layout brings the child to the scene as if he/she is taking the photograph. With many wonderful images, and using riddles & rhymes, I’ve created a unique game for our children, and for the child in all of us. It is fun, educational, and entertaining, and by taking the reader on an adventure the illustrated characters Dr. Jay and Miss Caroline instill at a very early age an intimate appreciation of nature, promote a love of animals, encourage the exploration of foreign lands, and introduce the beauty of photography by interconnecting the innocents of the world – our children and the animals who share our planet.
By utilizing the unique EYE SEE YOU series of books as the vehicle, I am hoping to initiate a paradigm in charity, whereby the audience’s enjoyment and the subject’s participation can directly contribute to the protection and sustenance of others who find themselves in desperate circumstances by no fault of their own – i.e. children and animals becoming benefactors for children and animals.
By donating a portion of the proceeds of all EYE SEE YOU books and merchandise to Save the Children, the International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals (the Wilds), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the universal appeal of my EYE SEE YOU series has the potential to become a perpetual source of global philanthropic revenue for this generation, and generations to come.
I invite you and your children to participate in this exciting venture. In addition to the series of EYE SEE YOU books, we will offer numerous items for purchase, with a portion of each purchase donated to these charities. There will be photography contests for your child to enter, and more.
Please contact me with your thoughts as we embark on this adventure together.
Jay M Walshon MD (Dr. Jay)