Tag Archives: In the Community

Sports Banners Celebrate Your Athletes!

Sports Banners Celebrate Your Athletes!

Celebrate Your Athletes With Sports Banners!

Fall sports are in full swing with the rivalries and team spirit making games exciting. Another great way to celebrate your athletes is with vinyl sports banners to display at games!

We work with a number of high schools who really love these durable sports banners. Many schools honor the senior class athletes by having sports banners created with special images and graphics. Pictured above are the banners from the Hill-Murray Varsity Football Team; we think they look great, especially hanging from the stands at the game!

David Grupa Sports (the sports photography division of David Grupa Portrait) also produced sports banners for Concordia Academy in Roseville, MN featuring the senior class athletes from the football, volleyball, soccer and cross country teams. A few of those are shown here as well.

Vinyl Sports Banners from David Grupa Portrait

Sports Banners are designed with your team’s colors and custom graphics. All sports banners are printed on heavyweight 13 oz vinyl with seamed edges and metal grommets in the corners for easy hanging and excellent durability. These can be displayed indoors or out and are built to handle the elements!

To have David Grupa Sports create these awesome sports banners for your team and players, give the studio a call today! 651.748.8779

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Are You a Small Business Owner Looking to Grow Your Clients?

Are You a Small Business Owner Looking to Grow Your Clients?
Business Networking Event

Business Networking Event

Are you a small business owner who would like to meet and network with other like-minded people in the Woodbury / Lake Elmo / Oakdale / Maplewood / St Paul area?

Would you be interested in getting together to network with a group of business professionals on a weekly basis to share ideas, learn about each others businesses and pass referrals?

I do this right now with a great group of people; we have openings for few new businesses in our group.

There are a few rules:
– One business category per group, so you won’t compete against someone else in the group.
– Attend a 90 minute meeting once a week, Wednesday from 11am to 12:30pm at the Machine Shed Restaurant in the Lake Elmo/Woodbury/Oakdale area.
– Be fun and energetic!

Sound interesting? We’d love to have you join us on September 11th. Drop me a message for more details (and to see if your business category is open!)

RSVP by Monday, September 9th – 651.748.8779

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An Evening at the 2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom

An Evening at the 2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom

2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom Was a Fun Evening For All!

Last weekend the 2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom was held at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. Each Spring, DeLaSalle students host the Starry Night Prom for persons living with disabilities. Many say that the evening is as much – if not more fun – than their own prom. Student volunteers host and staff the event, making sure everything runs smoothly all evening long. Many end up in photographs with or as dance partners for the attending guests.2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom

Once again my Minnesota Professional Photographers Association (MNPPA) colleagues and I were there. Our crew created nearly 700 photographs for the guests, also at no charge.

Even though the 2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom is in its 13th year, this marks just my 3rd year of involvement. My niece, Ellen, is a senior at DeLaSalle. A few years ago she asked if I could help out photographing an event and the rest, as they say, is history. The next year I returned, this time with a crew of volunteer professional photographers from the MNPPA.2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom We’ve staffed it ever since.

It really is fun to work with these folks who are dressed up and ready to have the evening of their lives. Creating a memory for them makes it that much more memorable for us, as well.

To learn more about DeLaSalle High School and this awesome event, visit the DeLaSalle High School website.

To view images from the 2013 DeLaSalle Starry Night Prom, CLICK HERE.

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Breakfast with Saint Nick is a Holiday Tradition

Breakfast with Saint Nick is a Holiday Tradition

Annual Breakfast with Saint Nick Brings Back Memories of “Christmas Past”

Breakfast with Saint Nick

Yesterday was the annual Breakfast with Saint Nick at Presentation Church in Maplewood. This yearly event is held as a fundraiser for the school and features breakfast with all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausages and more! The meal is cooked and served by volunteers from the local Knights of Columbus chapter and is a great Sunday morning family tradition.

Of course, it wouldn’t be “Breakfast with Saint Nick” without a visit from Santa! The jolly old elf stopped by for some pictures with kids of all ages. As a lifelong member of Presentation Church, I help out by photographing the kids with Santa. (100% of the proceeds from these photos are donated to the school’s fundraising efforts.) While some of the visitors are thrilled to see him, others take a more timid approach.

Breakfast with Saint Nick

What are your memories of visiting Santa with your kids (or as a child yourself?) While going through some old photographs at my mother’s house recently, we found a very old Santa pic of me and my 2 sisters. Odds are it was taken in a department store (remember going to Dayton’s?) Needless to say, not all of us had big smiles. There may have even been a few tears!

Hopefully, the photographs from this Breakfast with Saint Nick will bring back those memories for the kids and their families in years to come!

– David


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North Saint Paul Holiday Drive Runs December 1st – 15th

North Saint Paul Holiday Drive Runs December 1st – 15th

Since 2000, Event has Collected Toys, New Winter Clothing for Families in Need

It’s time once again for the North Saint Paul Holiday Drive! For the next 15 days, you may drop off new, unwrapped toys or new (not used) winter coats, hats and mittens at selected sites in the North Saint Paul area to be distributed to local families and kids.

North Saint Paul Holiday DriveWhat began as a fun studio promotion in the late 1980s has grown into an annual event. It was in the year 2000 when the studio was newly relocated in Downtown North Saint Paul that this event really spread its wings. I met another local businessman and was chatting about the holiday promotion we ran at the studio. He got a twinkle in his eye and asked “How big would you like to make this?” With a little legwork and the cooperation of the North Saint Paul School District’s social worker, Judy Aubrecht, we now had avenues for collection and distribution of toys, new clothing and gift cards to help make the holidays bright for families going through a rough patch.

When my business moved from North Saint Paul to Maplewood in 2005, my son Mark jumped on board to lend a hand as well. His help has been invaluable!

Those familiar with the North Saint Paul Holiday Drive will remember the little hiccup in 2007. The evening before we were to deliver the toys, my car was stolen. I’d spent the afternoon picking up things at collection points, so the vehicle was loaded. It felt as if the Grinch had struck personally. Fortunately it turned out to be a happy accident as many, many people came to the rescue. You can see the story here.

Here’s how you can help the North Saint Paul Holiday Drive:

– Bring any new, unwrapped toy or any new, unwrapped winter clothing item to one of our collection points. (We always get lots of baby toys, but don’t forget that it’s Christmas for the older kids as well.)

– Gift cards are also welcome (these are great for the older kids and their families!)

– Send a check in any amount. We’ll use it to help purchase gift cards for groceries and other items.

Mail your check to:
North Saint Paul Holiday Drive
1994 Duluth St
Maplewood, MN 55109-3415

Toy / Clothing Collection Points

North Saint Paul Community Center – 2300 North Saint Paul Drive – North St. Paul, MN 55109 – 651.747.2411

North Saint Paul City Hall – 2400 Margaret Street – North St Paul, MN 55109 – 651.747.2400

City and County Credit Union – all branches (click for locations!)

David Grupa Portrait – 1994 Duluth St – Maplewood, MN 55109 – 651.748.8779

Thanks for your help . . . Merry Christmas to all!

– David



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Some Fun Facts and Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day . . .

Some Fun Facts and Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day . . .

Is Thanksgiving Day Just the Day Before Black Friday?

We have all been taught that the first Thanksgiving Day celebration occurred in 1621, when the Pilgrims sat down to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. It was their first here in the New World, and it was said to have been attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans and lasted three days!

While the 1621 events were probably not of a religious nature, the colonists of that day were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”— days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as a bountiful harvest, the end of a drought and other occurrences.

Years later, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed November 26, 1863 to be a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. Since that time it has become the official beginning of the “holiday season” in the US.

Yet, the focus seems to have fallen from Thanksgiving Day and being thankful for what we have, to Black Friday. Getting up in the middle of the night or camping out days in advance has become as much a part of the weekend as the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. It has been said that “Only in America will people trample each other for sales, exactly one day after being thankful for they already have.”

(I know, the post right before this one is a Black Friday special as well . . . I still have to make a living, ya know!) 😉

So . . . let me offer a few options for giving thanks and being grateful:

  • Consider volunteering. So many of us have talents for which we should be thankful; let’s spread that wealth around and teach our kids that it’s not always “all about me.”
  • Share things where you have extras. There are lots of places looking for warm clothing this time of year. The Minnesota Twins and Justin Morneau sponsor a coat drive in the Twin Cities; I’m sure there’s something in your area as well.
  • Donate items to a holiday toy drive. I always approached this as another opportunity to teach my kids about the importance of sharing and being thankful for what they do have instead of what they don’t. They were responsible for setting aside a percentage of their allowance for a charitable purpose. We’d go shopping and choose items that would make great gifts for kids their age. (As a bonus, it clued me in to the things that they wanted for themselves; it made my Christmas shopping easier.)

Michael Symon, Cleveland restauranteur, chef and co-host of “The Chew” said about Thanksgiving Day “My restaurants are never opened on Thanksgiving; I want my staff to spend time with their family if they can. My feeling is, if I can’t figure out how to make money the rest of the year so that my workers can enjoy the holidays, then I don’t deserve to be an owner.”

Before you gorge yourself with everything delicious this Thanksgiving Day afternoon look around your table and give thanks for the people with you, the food in front of you and the memories of those who are no longer with you. Don’t forget to say a prayer of thanks for the blessings afforded you over the past 12 months.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

– David


(featured image: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe)


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A Night at the Presentation Panther Pride Auction!

A Night at the Presentation Panther Pride Auction!

Presentation Panther Pride Auction helps support Presentation School

Presentation Panther Pride AuctionThe Prom Center in Oakdale, MN was the venue for the 5th Annual annual Presentation Panther Pride Auction. For this event, the room was filled with over 300 teachers, parents, former students and supporters. Some were there for a chance to win some great prizes in the games and raffles. Others showed up to peruse the Silent Auction, where items ranged from fun experiences to gift certificates to sports memorabilia, framed art and much, much more. There was also a dinner and a Live Auction.

Presentation Panther Pride AuctionOf course, David Grupa Portrait was there as well. As an “alum” of Presentation School I enjoy supporting this effort, so Kirsten and I were once again set up to photograph couples attending the event. Since they were all dressed up for the evening, it was a great opportunity to be photographed together and take home a keepsake image. (And 100% of the proceeds from the photographs go directly to the Presentation Panther Pride Auction!)Presentation Panther Pride Auction



The live portion of the auction was awesome, as always. A team of auctioneers kept the crowd energized and into the bidding. (Check out Samantha from High Point Auction Company, doing her thing!) Featured items included weekend getaways, sporting event tickets, Joe Mauer autographed bat, dinner for 10 with Fr. Mark and more! There was even a family portrait session and canvas wall gallery print from David Grupa Portrait sold to one lucky bidder!Presentation Panther Pride Auction

Everyone who turned out at the Presentation Panther Pride Auction came to enjoy an evening of fun and philanthropy . . . which is a pretty great reason to get together, support a great cause and really have something to cheer about!

– David

(Want to see more photographs from the auction? Check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DavidGrupaPortrait and look for the photo album!)


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Veterans Day 2012 – A Salute to Those Who Served

Veterans Day 2012 – A Salute to Those Who Served

A Veterans Day History Lesson

November 11th marks the day observed in the United States as Veterans Day, honoring the men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces. (Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who gave their lives in service to our country.)

A number of other countries also celebrate Armistice Day or Remembrance Day on this date.

Veterans Day 2012The beginnings of the US Veterans Day date back to 1919, when it was celebrated as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I. Proclaimed a US holiday by President Woodrow Wilson, he stated:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1938, Congress declared it a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

Years later, a Veteran from World War II approached General Eisenhower with the idea of expanding the tribute to all veterans, not just those who served in WWI. The holiday was celebrated nationally beginning in 1947. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill into legislation declaring November 11th “Veterans Day”.

(A complete chronology of Veterans Day is available on the US Army Center of Military History page.)

Many of us have family members who served the United States in a military capacity over the years. My grandfather served in WWI and my father and uncles in WWII. Since then I have had numerous friends who have served and continue to serve today. My dad was a quiet WWII veteran who rarely talked about his service.

Thanks to all veterans, who for years have quietly gone about their duty so that we all may enjoy the lives we live.

We owe a debt of deep gratitude to these individuals – and their families – for their service to our nation.

– David

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No Matter Who You Choose, Just Vote.

No Matter Who You Choose, Just Vote.

The day to cast your vote is finally here.

We’ve endured the constant focus of politics on television, radio and in our mailboxes. Some of it has been upbeat, encouraging people to vote their side for the good things that will happen. Others target a particular candidate or issue for you to vote against. Rather than say “Vote for X” they tell you to “Vote against Z”. (In my house, we’ve gotten to the point where we turn down the sound when commercials come on. We’ve made up our own silly versions versions of ads which are far more entertaining than the real thing . . . )

All this mudslinging isn’t new. There was an interesting spot on this past week’s “60 Minutes” featuring a history / political science professor discussing campaigns of the past all the way back to Thomas Jefferson / John Adams era and how dirty they became. Suffice it to say that what we’re hearing today is rather mild compared to the rhetoric of their days.

Either way, I hate it. I want to go back to being friends with my Facebook friends who’ve been spewing “their side” for the past months. I want the misinformation that we see on TV to just be done.

VoteSo . . . after months and months of campaigns, the day has come where we have to “put our money where our mouth is.” The facts aren’t difficult to find, but they’re not in television commercials and campaign flyers. If you haven’t done so already, do a little homework before you go to the polls. It will be worth your investment of time.

Most of all, please make sure and get out and cast your ballot. I was floored a few years ago to hear that a friend who had very political leanings in their area was not even registered to vote, even though they had lived in that town for over 15 years!! You can register at the polls in most places and it only takes a few minutes.

You DO make a difference.

Let your voice be heard.

Just vote.




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White Bear Lake Tour de Bar Benefit Riders – Order Your Commemorative Photograph Here!

White Bear Lake Tour de Bar Benefit Riders – Order Your Commemorative Photograph Here!

The 2012 Tour de Bar Bicycle Benefit is scheduled for Saturday, August 4th. Riders will leave Sak’s Sports Bar around 2pm and follow a route through Vadnais Heights, Mahtomedi and White Bear Lake that includes 16 different stops.

This year’s beneficiary is Pam Bealke. You can support Pam and her fight with cancer by purchasing one of the commemorative photographs shown here. Available in both a 4×10 printed format and a web-resolution image formatted as a Facebook Cover Image, proceeds from the sale of these images go directly to help the family defray medical costs as they battle along with Pam.

Download the form and bring it on Saturday’s ride; you may also fill it out and turn it in with your payment before the ride on Saturday. Going to miss the ride? Contact Mike Shearen 612-812-7024 or mshearen@msn.com to donate or mail the completed form to Mike at:

Mail Order Form & Payment To:
Tour De Bar Bicycle Benefit
c/o Mike Shearen
1835 Stillwater Street
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Don’t miss your opportunity to show your support for a worthy cause.

– David

Pam was first diagnosed with renal cell cancer (kidney) in 1998. While she had many healthy years, in early March of 2012 Pam learned that the cancer had returned and has spread to many places in her body, including where her kidney used to be, her bones and around her lungs. Pam is currently undergoing an aggressive treatment plan of oral chemotherapy which has left her unable to work and extremely exhausted every day. Pam’s friends and family, especially her husband and three young children (ages 16, 14, and 10) are heartbroken because of this diagnosis. Pam, remarkably, has kept her spirit through it all, reminding us “let’s talk about the upside: I will finally reach my goal weight.”

Your prayers and support are an inspiring gift to us all — especially to Pam and her family.

Pam is determined to BEAT THE ODDS.

To follow Pam’s progress

[gview file=”http://mnppa2.com/members/davidgrupa/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Tour-De-Bar-Order-Form.pdf”]

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