Hero Behind the Mask: Joe Mignano

There are a lot of great people out there and I recently got to meet one of those great people through becoming a leader in Outer Rim Brigade. Joe describes himself as a man with many hats. And he is that! If he isn’t helping fellow Star Wars nerds in varying capacities he is working on a Star Wars podcast! Get to know this great man and show some support. Joe, thank you for your positive attitude and inspiration! –Mala
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Name: Joe Mignano

Location: Southern California

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
That’s a long story! Basically, after my wife passed away a little over a decade ago, I embraced a lot of the things I enjoyed most in life, as a sort of means of coping with the loss. I immersed myself in Star Wars, whereas before I was a fan but didn’t have many Star Wars things. I started collecting books, autographs, etc. Then, thanks to social media (which at the time was pretty much Myspace), I learned about conventions like Comic Con in San Diego, and groups of costumers that not only wore Star Wars attire, but also used their costumes for charitable purposes. I never knew at the time that there were such things, and I immediately wanted to be a part of it. It’s a part of my life to this day.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
Getting to be the Star Wars figure that I always wanted to be as a kid, and being able to use that live action figure for a good cause, especially when it involves doing something positive in the lives of children, really keeps me motivated to contribute all I can, as much as I can, as often as I can, even if I’m not often able to.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
I really don’t remember! I think, technically, it was at Comic Con in San Diego, in either 2007 or 2008. I had a silly little campy YouTube show at the time called “The Dark Side Chats,” in which I’d often wear a custom Sith get-up, and of course talk about Star Wars. It was my first foray into podcasting, which over the years would also
become a favorite pastime of mine. Star Wars podcasting, of course.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I only have two outfits, believe it or not. I have a custom Sith and a Darth Sidious (prequel era, before Palpy got scarred for life by that traitor Mace Windu). Of those, I’d have to say I love my custom Sith, since it’s very non-restricting, breathes easily, and is rather comfortable. Plus, it’s something I concocted on my own, which gives the costume its own sort of uniqueness.

Most memorab photo Mark Edwards photography 189697341_zpstrydwoas.jpgle CAUSEplay moment(s): There are so many. But I’d have to say that one of my most favorites was while I was wearing my custom Sith, and I was working a table for The Dark Empire at an event, which is something I don’t really do anymore (I’m more involved with the 501st Legion these days). I had started something up called HoloNet Audio Dramas, one of a few Star Wars podcasts that I do, in which I narrate well-written short family-friendly Star Wars fanfiction, and set it to music and sound effects – the idea being not just to have a fan audio presentation (sort of like fanfilms, but audio only), but to also target that media toward fans that may be blind, have difficulty reading, etc.

On this particular occasion, a blind woman was led to the table I was at, and her hand was gently guided along that props that were on display. Without any hesitation or guesswork on her part, she knew what a lightsaber hilt was and what a Sith holocron was. I described the outfit I was wearing to her, and let her feel the material. I was amazed at the expression her face made as she took in the details of the display pieces and costume fabric with her fingertips.

I then offered her a free audio disc of HoloNet Audio Dramas material; it had about ten stories on it, and I used to give them away regularly. She later told me that she thoroughly enjoyed listening to the stories, and “seeing” what we had on display; she really experienced Star Wars in a way that she hadn’t before. That did it for me! I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve given out close to 1,000 audio discs since, before retiring disc distribution last year. I still give free ones out on rare occasion, and I always think of that particular encounter with a blind Star Wars fan when I do.

What is your favorite cause to support and what have you done for them?
Hillsides children’s group home (an orphanage), is a cause that I’ve supported since 2011, having organized a Star Wars Day event for the kids there each year, now twice a year. I actually wrote a blog about it on the Star Wars website (link: http://www.starwars.com/news/celebrating-5-years-of-star-wars-at-hillsides-child-care-facility) , and it was mentioned in the Bantha Tracks section of the January 2015 issue of Star Wars Insider. Organizing an event like that for kids that depend on so much from volunteers means a lot to me, and I think it’s the reason why volunteers like us volunteer to do what we photo 1398881_10151840662688241_1116444032_o_zpsifute0zi.jpg do.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
The silliest thing I’ve ever done was probably be Santa Sith one Sithmas, a long time ago…

Who inspires you in life or cosplay?
I’m inspired by all of the people that volunteer their time and efforts into not only enjoying w
hat they do, but using it to give back, as well. The story of Albin Johnson, his late daughter Katie, and a baby girl once known as Princess Leah when she was alive were and still my biggest inspirations.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Always be professional, but also have fun! If you aren’t having fun, then you’re doing something wrong.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Hillsides every August is the single-most event that I look forward to, and also in December.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Costumer. I think “cosplayer” is a term best describing a person that wears a costume for playful purposes, whereas a “costumer” doesn’t just wear a costume, they make it themselves and use it for a purpose beyond play.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
My custom Sith, or a very primitive version thereof.

What is your dream cosplay?
I’d like to do one or two more of the many fun outfits that are worn in the 501st Legion, and I’d really like to make some type of bounty hunter outfit at some point. The Royal Guard costume is really calling to me, but I’m also not sure if I want to demote myself from Emperor just yet. photo BrutalOne_zpsbvxlvdrm.jpg

How do you feel you have influenced the cosplay community?
Ironically enough, I think through podcasting. Although Dark Empire Radio is now its own entity, it once was the official podcast of The Dark Empire costume club, and I served as it’s main voice for a number of years, as well as the first PR Officer of that particular club. I’m now happily involved co-hosting and post-producing the 501stCast, the official podcast of the 501st Legion.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I wear many hats. Security guard, park ranger, voice over guy. I guess it all depends on which hat I’m wearing at the time.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
If “philanthropist” were an occupation, I’d love to list my everyday job as that. I dream of being able to freely give as much as possible, without the hindrance of having to work hard to be able to.

Tell us something random about yourself: I love cheesecake. Immensely. Some say too much; I say hardly enough.

Star Wars or Star Trek: I love both, but it’s the Wars that inspired me to do what I do. It’s all about the Wars!

Marvel or DC: I loved Super Friends as a kid, so DC when it comes to old school comics. But, Marvel all the way otherwise!

Favorite Comic Series: Dark Empire, the FIRST “expanded universe” or Legends comic from Dark Horse!

Favorite Comic Character: Darth Talon. I’m a Sith. A male Sith. It was only inevitable.

Least favorite comic character and why? The rabbit fellow in the old Marvel Star Wars comics. I can’t remember his name, and probably for good reason.

Favorite Book: Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide, by Ben Burtt, with illustrations by Sergio Aragones. Think Mad Magazine and Star Wars together, and learn a bit of Huttese in the process. Major win!

 photo Joe Mignano 73 Front_zpss4ughjsa.pngFavorite Video Game: Battlefront II from 2004. Nothing comes close.

Favorite Convention: Celebration 6 in Orlando, Florida in 2012 was perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had at a con. I’ve also enjoyed going to ConNooga in Tennessee, and San Diego Comic Con in years past. Alas, I’m conventioned-out anymore!

Affiliations (clubs or groups): 501st Legion, Saber Guild, The Dark Empire, Outer Rim Brigade

Facebook: facebook.com/lordbruticus

Twitter: @mignanojoe

Hero Behind the Mask: Erika Earl

I am please to share with you the first of the Heroes Behind the Mask series for 2016! Since I am also writing for Cosplayer Among Us Magazine this will only be a monthly release.

I am very excited to introduce you to Erika! She teamed up with the amazing and kind hearted owner of the Penalty Box in Salt Lake City to raise money for a cause near and dear to her own heart! They were very successful! Keep reading to find out just how successful her event was! Not only has she found time to raise money for a great cause but this cosplayer also works with Salt Lake Comic Con in additional to her other life obligations! She was kind enough to talk about all these busy things in her life!-Mala

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Name: Erika Earl

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
The people that I get to Causeplay with

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The events get better each time and it’s fun to see the progress.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a Make A Wish Dreamnight at the Hogle Zoo

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why? It depends, if it’s for children definitely my fairy.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment(s) : All of the Causeplayers on the Carousel at the zoo together.

What is your favorite cause to support and what have you done for them? I personally fund raise for the National MS Society because I have MS and it is a cause that means a lot to me.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
I can’t really think of anything I consider silly. Everything is fun if you look at it the right way.

Who inspires you in life or cosplay?
All of the cosplayers I know inspire me in cosplay. In life I’m inspired by anyone who has the courage to be their true self.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Don’t be afraid to beg.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Nothing until next year that I know of but you never know what will happen.

You recently had a CAUSEplay event what is your event called? We change the name every year but it relates to MS and Cosplay

Why did you choose MS for this event?
I was diagnosed with MS over 12 years but because I don’t look sick it’s really hard to spread awareness. All of the money raised went to the national MS society 

Why did you choose to host this at the Penalty Box and how do you think this choice influenced your events success?
Bill Rowe is a good friend and Neff Michael’s fund raising enthusiasm is inspirational. There are no two people I would rather work with more for this event. (Note from Mala, Neff was previously interviewed for his own CAUSEPlay efforts so please check out that interview as well!)

 photo Capture_zpsx4wtqg60.jpg Please tell us the process to making this event happen.
This year was a little easier because it wasn’t the first time around. After getting in touch with Bill and Neff and getting the okay to have the event at the penalty box I rounded up raffle donations, I had help from friends and Geek Hangout Utah on that. Salt Lake Comic Con created the flyer that I both posted and passed out and from there it was pretty easy.

What would you say was unique about your event ?
We try to incorporate as much orange for MS as possible. This year we had orange mardi gras beads and orange glow sticks. Most of the pictures had some form of orange.

How much did you raise for MS in total?
We raised $1701.00 in two nights.

Do you see yourself doing something like this again?
I do, next year we will be back.

If someone is interested in creating an event like yours what advice do you have?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to get told no and keep going.

You mentioned that you also volunteer for Salt Lake Comic Con, tell us what you do for them? What is it like?
I am the Director of volunteers for Salt Lake Comic Con, It is the most amazing job I have ever had. I thrive on chaos and love the event so much.

How important are volunteers for conventions from your perspective? The volunteers are incredibly important for the event. With such a large group of volunteers you would probably be surprised at haw hard each one of them works.

Salt Lake Comic Con seems to have a heavy focus on cosplay, how do you think that has shaped the Utah cosplay community?
It has made everyone feel welcome and as if they have a place in the event.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer? Cosplayer

What was your first costume/cosplay? A Zombie

What is your dream cosplay?
There are a lot of them but a Mandalorian is pretty high on the list

How do you feel you have influenced the cosplay community?
I hope I’ve convinced new people to join the community.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m an executive secretary at a cancer hospital and I am the director of volunteers for Salt Lake Comic Con

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I like the jobs I have [Symbol]

Tell us something random about yourself: I have more pets than any one person should probably have and I love them all.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars

Marvel or DC: DC

Favorite Comic Series: Batman

Favorite Comic Character: The Joker

Least favorite comic character and why? Superman, he just annoys me

Favorite Book: Coraline or the Graveyard Book

Favorite Video Game: Plants versus Zombies (any of them)

Favorite Convention: Salt Lake Comic Con

Facebook: Erika’s adventures in Cosplay

Hero Behind the Mask: Keyaroscuro

This week I wanted to introduce to another lovely lady I had the pleasure of doing a CAUSEplay panel with at Geek Girl Con 2014.  The talented Keyaroscuro!  Not only does she make phenomenal costumes but she takes amazing pictures too.  I had the pleasure of having her shot my Batgirl and I love all the pictures that came from this shot!  Keyaroscuro is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her in this weeks interview.  –Mala

 photo Mulan_zpsxidihxn2.jpgName: Keyaroscuro

Location: Ogden, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I saw these really cool-looking guys in armor at Anime Banzai 2010, a convention where I used to regularly participate as an Artist Alley merchant every year. Back then, I had more social anxiety than I do now, and it wasn’t until the evening of the second to last day when they had their helmets off and were talking about their plan for the next day. They were very kind when I interrupted them for a picture.
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After posting on Facebook, one of the armored cosplayers friended me, and over the next few months, I eventually learned that he was a member of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Clubs. His Facebook posts were filled with photos of him and other costumes Star Wars characters volunteering at various charity events. Dressing up to do charity was something I’d never considered, and I loved it and wanted to be a part of it. However, it wasn’t until several years later, when a former coworker said he was trying to make his own set of Mandalorian Merc armor that I took it as a challenge to complete a set of armor in a month before the inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con. And the rest is history.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
One reason — the people. I love the cosplayers I work with; it takes a certain type of person to participate fully in this hobby, and the common traits they have are the type that make them amazing friends and adopted family. Then there are the people we serve. I have loved service and charity all my life, and there is no greater feeling than bringing joy to someone’s day.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My very first event was really participating during Salt Lake Comic Con with the Mandalorian Merc’s bounting hunting fundraiser. Outside of that, my actual first event was as a handler with the Mandalorian Mercs. A member of the community interested in joining our costume club, who is now an official member part of the local chapter, invited our local Krayt Clan chapter to a fundraising fair for families with children in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). My armor wasn’t approved yet, as I’d had to fix and add some pieces to resubmit to the costume club’s application team again for approval. Mainly, I acted as photographer and repaired any loose pieces on armor when they came undone while the Mandalorians walked around to get pictures with attendees and invite passing drivers to stop.

The fair had this children’s train that rode around the entire strip mall parking lot that was hosting the fair, and we fit all the attending Mandalorians in their armor onto the train for a ride with permission from the train runners. We got a lot of great pictures from that, and I got to get to know some of the members, encouraging me to finish the repairs on my armor and become official.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and why?
I don’t have many, but my Mandalorian Merc armor is definitely my favorite. For one, I get to cover my face with a helmet, so I don’t have to worry too much about makeup or how my hair looks until after I take my helmet off. I’m also very proud of my armor, and I’m even more proud of being visually associated with the other Mandalorian Mercs. It’s difficult to feel social anxiety when you’re wearing a really cool set of armor and are surrounded by a bunch of equally cool armored people.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment: Ah, that’s another tough question. I think my most memorable was FantasyCon 2014’s Charity Night. The convention runners decided to open the convention for a few hours the night before opening day and invite Make-A-Wish Utah to invite local families with children with life-threatening conditions that often make it so they can’t enjoy conventions due to the crowds. I’d had a horrible day that day and a near emotional breakdown about an hour or two before while dealing with a completely unrelated issue. I remember going to the convention hall after I wrapped up my other drama and joining the rest of the Krayt Clan, and all my cosplayer friends helped me feel so much better while I got ready.

Then we all lined up in two lines to form an aisle next to the main door where they were going to let in all the families. There are maybe a hundred of us all in costumes ranging from Star Wars to Disney princesses to superheroes to elves. And the volunteers opened the door at the start time, and all these families came in. Each family had at least one child with a wheelchair or a walker or a feeding tube and oxygen masks. And they fall filed down this aisle the cosplayers formed towards the main stage, stopping occasionally to get pictures with us. The kids were so excited when they saw a character they recognized, and although some of the parents seemed hesitant, maybe just tired, they also seemed happy and excited for their kids.

I just remember looking at these cool kids and a couple of the mercs next to me (me included) saying that they were glad they had their helmets on to hide how much it affected them emotionally. That was a really great event and one of the reasons FantasyCon is my favorite convention.

What is your favorite cause to support?
The Krayt Clan has worked a lot with Make-A-Wish Utah, and they’ve always been so great. I love what they do. Also, one of my favorite annual events is a Toys for Tots drive held at Hastur Games that involves as many local cospalyers and cosplay clubs as we can get, and it gets bigger and more fun every year!

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
I think the silliest thing I’ve seen wasn’t one I actually participated in, just took pictures of. It was my very first event and the only one I attended (not including Salt Lake Comic Con 2013) right before becoming an OM. There was this tiny train for children and a bunch of Mandalorian Mercs. You may be able to guess what happened in an effort to have fun with the kids and attract attention and attendance for the event, which I believe was for families with babies in newborn intensive care units.

On a side note, was also near Halloween and in the parking lot of a Halloween costume store, so after the event, we went into the store and all the mercs posed in silly costume pieces like feathered boas while I took pictures. It was quite cute.

Who inspires you?
Local cosplay inspiration Neff has served as an inspiration for me and many others in my local cosplay community. I literally would not be doing this if it weren’t for him, and I would not have stuck with it this long if not for his genuine kindness and caring personality.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: I’ve had social anxiety my entire life. It’s been very difficult to put myself out there at event after event and be a people person to strangers. However, I kept pushing my comfort zone a little bit each time, and now I’m usually very comfortable at events. So my advice is that if you have any insecurities that might make it so you feel you can’t participate even though you really want to, work on them a little bit at a time. Surround yourself with positive, strong people, and their strength will eventually rub off on you, and you can pay it forward in your own little way.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
I’m taking a break for 18 months to be a nurse specialist for my church in Uruguay Montevideo starting the beginning of May. I’ll be back at CAUSEplaying again in November 2016!

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I like cosplayer, because costumer makes me think more of theater costumes, which is actually one of my unfinished degrees.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
I actually went as Bellatrix Lestrange first; if I remember correctly, it was back before she had a character design in the Harry Potter movies.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m usually a technical writer.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I’ve been asked this question before in a job interview back when I first started university, and my answer is the same now as it was then — a photographer for National Geographic.

Tell us something random about yourself: I cry a lot during many movies. Like the last Harry Potter movie.

Star Wars or Star Trek: I love Star Trek. I really do. Leonard Nimoy is one of my favorite actors alongside George Takei, and the whole franchise holds a very special place in my heart. But…I honestly get more emotional and more excited over Star Wars. So I’ll have to stay Star Wars it is!

Marvel or DC: I think both studios have their strengths and weaknesses. I do have to admit, though, that I enjoyed the Justice League and animated movies long before the MCU came to be, and next to X-Men, those superhero TV shows are my first superhero memory. However, the X-Men were the ones I got the geekiest over. So this is tough, but perhaps I’m going with Marvel for the moment.

Favorite Comic Series: The Sandman

Favorite Comic Character: Delirium from The Sandman

Least favorite comic character and why: I honestly can’t think of one off the top of my head.

Favorite Book: My favorite book changes fairly often, but currently, it’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

Favorite Video Game: Portal 2

Favorite Convention: FantasyCon

Affiliations (clubs or groups): Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Keyaroscuro

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Keyaroscuro

Instagram: https://instagram.com/keyaroscuro/

Heroes Behind the Masks: Cosplay Heroes QLD

I absolute love the philosophy and attitude under lying this week’s interview! From everyone can cosplay/CAUSEplay to helping others and bringing smiles to others to inspiring people to be heroes themselves! That is one reason that got me into CAUSEplay, was the thought of inspiring others to reach out to their communities. It makes me happy to know there are others on the opposite side of the world with the same thought process! And they are for sure a busy group putting smiles on kids faces! I hope you enjoy this weeks feature of Heroes Behind the Masks! – Mala

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Group Name: Cosplay Heroes QLD

Location(s): Queensland, Australia

Mission Statement: **Not yet applicable** But if I was to make one on the spot.

We strive to help others, bringing smiles and assist where it is needed. To live up to the definition of being a hero in our community. Providing inspiration to all so “Anyone can be a hero”

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When was the group started? And by who?
The group started around June 2014, It was originally started by 4 Cosplayers.

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Cosplay Heroes QLD in general? If you are a member of the Cosplay Heroes QLD what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
There are other groups present at the time already. But not enough groups and or members, resulting in a lot of events or special visits being turned down. This was not acceptable for me/us, so we decided to start our own and grow our members large enough to cover all regions possible.
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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status?
We are not ‘registered’ as a non-for profit. We are based on those guidelines and are recognized as non for profit due to the nature we are all volunteers and no payment is received. We would class ourselves as a Costuming organization with intent of non for profit charity work. As long as we have a NFP declaration, it is recognized as such. The declaration is what it says: Declares the groups interests on the work that is performed.

At this point we are not considering on registering the group in regards to tax deductible donations. As any monies raised goes directly to the charities deposit accounts.

How can someone join Cosplay Heroes QLD?
We will scout potential members or they can contact us via email or fb post. Though each member is subjected to a short interview, usually three questions. These questions are generally about: Teamwork, acceptance(of others/no discrimination) and passion to help others.
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Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
We are under a year old, so we are operating solely on Facebook. Though a website is under construction.

What type of costumes do you accept? Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it? What do you look for in a costume?
Costume approvals – as we do not discriminate on ones costumes or skills, we will accept any one or thing. There is a time and place for all costumes. Child friendly costumes and easily distinguishable characters are very helpful. But each Charity event has different needs, so it is foolish to only accept certain costumes. We want to satisfy all requests we get to the best of our abilities and resources.

Do you accept crossplay costumes? Gender bent costumes? Customized characers?
Genderbent and crossplay of course are accepted. We live in a diverse community and we encourage everyone not to be afraid to express themselves (Of course at discretion of event host). We will not hold any of our members back from “doing good” just because it is not of the right gender. Anyone can Causeplay.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Yes there are members who are armour builders, sculptors, artists, seamstresses and of course there is a much wider community outside of the group to assist.
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How many people are currently in your group?
54 members

Leadership structure:
President
Vice President
Board members(X4)
Public Relations officer
Librarian(Custodian or Administrator)
Event Organizer
Costumers

How is the leadership determined?
Elected yearly and based upon experience and knowledge. When elections come up, members are welcomed to nominate themselves and explain to the group why they are best suited for the position and a ballot is then held.
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What have you done for charities (types of events)?
This is a hard one for me to answer as I am not in attendance at all events. But to summarize we don’t do as much charity fund raising as other groups. We try to focus on children, we have visited many ill children. These children may have Cancer/s, disabilities, rare health conditions and life threatening or terminal ill children.

This is an emotional thing for some of us to speak about, but we leave knowing we have made a difference in a childs life, their families and their wider community.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We do quite a lot of requests, to host our own event would be time consuming, not ours but of the public. There has been times we get a request at “the last minute” so we try to make ourselves available at all times. We have not turned down an event to date.
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How did you build you “clientele”?
Usually it has been word of mouth from our last client(Child visit) and our members reguarly keep an eye out in the community to find potential clients or events that could benefit from our presence.

Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
1-Capes 4 kids Australia. Website: http://www.capes4kidsaustralia.com.au Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capes4kidsaustralia

2- Childrens Hospitals in Queensland

What is the most amazing thing Cosplay Heroes QLD has accomplished so far?
Spreading smiles and joy. Creating a team(members) that work together to make a childs day special. Everything we have done has made a huge impact in the community. But the most surprising thing about our team members, is the passion and commitment they show. For example we could be given under 36 hours notice for a visit for a sick child or an event. I guarantee you I could confirm attendees within 12 hours.
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Where do you see Cosplay Heroes QLD going in the future?
Expansion of members and a wider area of coverage in the state. With the budget cuts from the government in regards to health and charities, we will be required for a long time to come.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?

Have fun! Choose wisely your members, pick those who have passion for costuming and helping others. A slogan I use/created: If I have strength, why can’t I too be strong for others.

Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay:
Every member should be proud of what we have become and grown into. Started with 4 members and now it has increased to 54 in under a year. It is surprising how many people want to help, costuming is another outlet for them to help the community and have fun doing so.
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What future events do you have? Please note that many of the events listed below have passed but I wanted to share with you the amazing things this group does!!!  Also, some of the pictures in this interview are from some of the listed events.
The 20th Birthday of the Birth Centre 2nd May https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfTheBirthCentreQld
EB Games Star light foundation week April 27th – 3rd May
Abigails Birthday(Cancer survivor and past client) note: we always follow up on clients after visits, its our way of showing we care( we are not just a one gig wonder)
Capes4Kidsaustralia 1st year Birthday
Sensory Movie Day 4th Anniversary
And that is just the next few months, more requests are expected 🙂

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cosplay.heroes.qld

Email: Cosplay.Heroes.qld@gmail.com
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Heroes Behind the Masks: Cosplay Collective

This weeks feature not only thinks about charity in the community but the costume community as well!  From podcasting to conventions and charity events to inspiring their community they do it all!!  There is so much to say about this weeks feature that I will let them tell it all!!   –Mala

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2014 Toy Drive with The Rouges Gallery

Group Name: Cosplay Collective

Interviewee: Dee Volpe

Location(s): Nashville, TN (Including all of Middle Tennessee and anyone else who wants to be a part of it). We have a presence on Facebook and welcome input from anywhere.

Mission Statement: We connect cosplayers and cosplay groups for support, inspiration, development, and to bring hope, strength, and joy to our communities.

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Batwoman

When was the group started? And by who ?
We began activities at the end of summer 2014. The founders are Dee Volpe (myself) and Nancy Arch. We have had great help and support from Johnny Dellarocca, Leeanna Player, and Tina Veda.

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Nancy as The Riddler

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Cosplay Collective or CAUSEplay in general? If you are a member of the Cosplay Collective what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
As a cosplayer in the Middle Tennessee area I noticed the diversity and many small groups and individuals, yet no real connection between them all. I wanted to unite them for support, advancement, and community causes. As a whole we can do so much more for ourselves and the community at large.

Brief history/overview: We were lucky enough to be acquainted with someone who asked us to work with IndyPopCon 2014 after developing, setting up, and then running the Cosplay Lounge and at the last minute the Cosplay Contest. We had such an incredible time bringing the cosplayers together and spending time with so many wonderful people we started to see a real reason for bringing them together in an effort to create community for them and bringing our love for cosplay to the general public. We offer to bring our Cospitality Suite to conventions where we can set up a place for cosplayers to relax, socialize and even repair costumes while getting off the con floor to avoid photographers for a time. When we realized that our ideas about our group were much different than our acquaintance we decided to split from them and Form Cosplay Collective. We immediately began events introducing our ideas to the community with a room party at Geek Media Expo and then a Toy Drive and Photo Shoot to collect toys to deliver to The Children’s Hospital at Tri-Star Centennial Hospital and the Monroe Carroll, Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Since then we have visited several Hospitals and Assisted Living Complexes. We are lucky to have contacts where we are able to set up visits at places who have not had this type of events before and we have had great success from them, being asked for return engagements.

We also are a part of a larger group that brings programming to conventions. The Powerhouse Project includes, BDC Entertainment, Unlockable Characters, Comic City Conventions, and Cosplay Collective. As part of this group we provide our Cospitality Suite, run cosplay contests, and produce panels on cosplay. We intend to local charities and hospitals in the cities of the conventions we participate.

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Tina as Tomb Raider

Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status?
We are beginning the process of getting a 501(c)3 status for our charitable work. We consider ourselves a cosplay community that supports cosplayers while doing good works, if that makes sense. We believe you can’t do the charity work if you don’t support and advance the members that are doing it.

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Visit to Cennennial Childrens Hospital in Dec 2014

How can someone join Cosplay Collective?
Anyone, group or individual, is welcome to join Cosplay Collective. We do most of our contact through Facebook, conventions, and local events. We are an inclusive group and encourage all fandoms to join. No shaming or bulling is allowed in this group. We also encourage as much participation as possible.

Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
Right now we have only this chapter, but hopefully that will change after we get our status. At this time our web address, cosplaycollective.org, directs everyone to our Facebook page.

What type of costumes do you accept? Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it? What do you look for in a costume?
As a general rule, all cosplayers are welcome. It is not all about the superheroes. We want to not only do the charity work, but we also want to be supportive of the cosplay community and include everyone who cosplays and even those thinking of doing so. We are planning to have “maker meet-ups”, photo shoots, and events for cosplayers outside of cons. So, everyone is welcome. We also have a “no shaming” rule, as I said, everyone is welcome.

Charity events are a bit different, as we want the best representation of the characters, recognizable and well made. We don’t seem to have a problem with finding this. Everyone who volunteered so far has had great costumes. I believe there is a general understanding that we need good costumes for any visits we make. Some members have reached out to get help to make their costumes better just so they can participate in this side of the group.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
We do and are gathering more information everyday of local artists that are willing to help others create. We try to connect with those who use our services at the Cospitality Suite we provide for cons. Those who create are welcome to let us know they are willing to help others. We are also happy to support cosplay businesses in this fashion.

How many people are currently in your group?
Our Facebook page currently has almost 450 members. There is smaller amounts that participate, but most all of us have day jobs and can’t make all the events.

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The founders Dee and Nancy

Leadership structure: Right now, the leadership structure involves all those mentioned earlier. As we set up our Non-profit that may change as we want others who participate to be more involved in the planning of events.

How is the leadership determined?
That will be determined as we get further into the process of getting our Non-Profit status.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
We are a very young group, but we have been fortunate to have created several events.

We began with a Christmas Cosplay Photo Shoot and Toy Drive. We invited cosplay photographers and cosplayers to come for a meet and greet. We also invited the public to bring a new toy and they could get their pictures with the cosplayers. It was quite successful and we collected many toys to be delivered to children in the hospital at Christmas.

The toys were delivered to two hospitals by some of our cosplayers. Getting to meet and show support for some little ones who had to be away from home at such a special holiday.

We have been very humbled by being invited to a local hospital that has never had cosplayers make appearances. We visited the adults on the Oncology and the Pallative Care floors and, to me, this was amazing. We collected items that would be useful for them while they were hospitalized and delivered them during our visit. Families and staff were so grateful and we put smiles on faces that needed something to smile about. This is what I do this for. We have been asked to make regular visits from now on.

Events at some senior living facilities have been a joy to do also. After our first one we have been asked back and others have reached out to us to make appearances at additional places.

We are part of a live podcast called Comixstravaganza Live that can be found at graphicpolicy.com on Wednesdays at 7pm CST. We have had several local cosplayers on the show discussing why they cosplay, giving tips about costuming and more. We hope to expand on that in the future.

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Nashvilles Dark Knight at 2014 Toy Drive

There is also our Cospitality Suite that we provide to cons where we have a location at the con where cosplayers can get away from the crowds and regenerate and/or repair if needed. We provide many items that can be used to do this from sewing machines to hot glue guns.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We create many of our events, but we also make appearances. Our idea is that not only will we do our thing, but if you are a cosplay group and want more participants we are happy to reach out to our group to find some for them also. Any event programmers are welcome to reach out to us for participation.

How did you build you “clientele”?
Mostly by putting ourselves out there and telling people about ourselves. We do this at cons and events. I love to talk about cosplay anywhere and it has surprised me how many people become interested when they hear about and see pictures. We are lucky to have a great network of contacts that have asked for our participation or have referred others to us.

Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
The Children’s Hospital at Centennial Hospital and Vanderbilt Medical Center has asked for regular visits along with several senior living facilities.

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Batwoman and Superboy

What is the most amazing thing Cosplay Collective has accomplished so far?
Everything we have done has been amazing! Seeing smiles regularly at our visits makes my heart sing! There would be no way to pick just one accomplishment; it is the whole that is amazing!

Where do you see Cosplay Collective going in the future?
We hope to continue locally providing a resource for local charities and event planners. We would like to help other areas of the country to create their own collective, bringing their communities together for great causes.

One thing we hope to do is to be able to make appearances at locations near the conventions we attend. In connection with the Cospitality Suite we provide, we feel that we have the ability to get groups together to make appearances locally during the conventions.

Do you use any fun terminology specifically for Cosplay Collective?
Of course “Cospitality” is something we use a lot.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
Do it! It takes work and perseverance to get it off the ground, but if you put the work into it the rewards are amazing! Find the people that make the decisions and ask. If you ask, usually, they are happy to work with you.

Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay: The first time I put on a costume I paid close attention to the reactions I got! I saw what this can do for people. A smile is the best thing you can give someone because it gives them hope for something better. Why would you not want to do something like that?

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Visit to Vanderbilt 2/2015

What future events do you have?
Right now we will be creating a regular schedule for visits to the local hospitals and we have several senior living places on the schedule.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthernCosplayCollective

Website: www.cosplaycollective.org (Directs to Facebook at this point)

Twitter: @coscollective

Email: cosplaycollective@outlook.com

Podcast: Comixstravaganza Live @ graphicpolicy.com every Wednesday at 7pm CST

Hero Behind the Mask: Scott Loxley

I have had this interview for a while and it is finally the time to share this great story and adventure with you. One reason I picked today is May 4 is just around the corner and what better way to say “May the Fourth be with you” than an interview featuring a Stormtrooper!

Remember how I mentioned in one of my first blogs that the ways to CAUSEplay is only limited by your imagination? This weeks feature demonstrates this! Scott Loxley is walking around Australia (19,000 miles) in a full Star Wars Sandstrooper costume. Now for those of you who wear armor, Star Wars or any other genre, you know what it is like to wear it at a con. Now imagine walking the distance this guy has, and will by the end of his journey. Personally, I will never complain about being too hot or uncomfortable at a con again! You may be asking why is he doing this? Simple, for the children at Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. But I will let him tell you more in his own words! If you are interested you can donate on his behalf here. Scott’s goal in $100,000 and he has reached $57,662.25 of it!  You can help him toward his goal too!   Make sure to follow him over the next few months as he completes this 18 month chapter of his life!  He has had some pretty amazing stories too!  Like surviving a snake bite because of his armor!

Scott, May the Fourth be with you on this journey and the next! –Mala
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Name: Scott Loxley

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
My daughter asked me to take her to a comic con event in Melbourne that started it all. I remember saying to her “what is that”? She laughed and proceeded to tell me all about it. It was another way for me to spend time with her so I agreed to go. It was there that I first heard of and saw the 501st Legion in action and was impressed by the work that these volunteers do for charity. It wasn’t until after we got home that my daughter told me she wanted to get involved in costuming and asked if I would do it with her, the rest is history.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
Every time I attend an event, be it as a Sandtrooper or Darth Vader with fellow 501st troopers, it gives me a great sense of wellbeing as we are all there for the right reasons and we are continuing to make a difference in our communities. I can’t see a time when I won’t be doing this.

Is this fundraiser your first CAUSEplay event? If not, what was?
As a 501st member, I have attended many fundraising events and look forward to many, many more. It’s quite easy to get addicted to helping those who in some cases can’t help themselves. That’s what the 501st do.

What is your favourite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and why?
I do enjoy wearing Vader but at the moment it would have to be the Sandtrooper (sand/desert version of a Stormtrooper). After wearing him non-stop for the last year on the road I have seen him appeal to pretty much everybody who stops me wanting their picture taken with him.
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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment: I have two moments,
1: attending my first 501st event as a Sandtrooper and experiencing firsthand the reactions of the kids, priceless.

2: when my wife, Sally Loxley, decided that she would also join the 501st and help me in raising funds for charity. Her costume is Emperor Palpatine, basically the boss of the bad guys.

Why did you chose Monash Children’s Hospital as a cause to support?
When I decided that I was going to walk around Australia, I was looking for a charity to get behind. I knew that one of our members worked at the Monash children’s Hospital so that made it a pretty easy decision in the end.

Your goal is to raise $100,000. How will these funds help Monash Children’s Hospital?
It will go towards buying new equipment that is always needed in hospitals. The hospital knows where it is needed and will make good use of the funds. I’m just happy that it gives them an opportunity to make a difference.

When did you start this journey?
I left Melbourne 2 November 2013 and should be finished by June 2015.
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What made you decide that walking 9000 miles was the best way for you to make a difference?
Sometimes in order to make a difference you have to be a little different and what better way to get people’s attention than to wear the iconic Stormtrooper costume. I use him at many charity events so why not take him on the road and try to reach as many people as possible.

At the time of this interview where in Australia are you?
(Monday 9 February 2015) I am currently passing through a little town in Northern Queensland called Mount Larcom. There’s not much here but I have found a picnic table and chairs amongst a few trees which will do me for the day.

Have you had support from the Star Wars costume clubs in Australia? If so what?
I could not tell you in a sentence the level of support I receive from the Star Wars community. I receive numerous messages every day from supporters both in Australia and overseas in almost every country around the world. It’s been amazing.

During your journey, what has been the nicest thing anyone has done for you?
I don’t think there has been one single thing. The people I continue to meet continually surprise me with their generosity. The longer the walk goes on, the more people are becoming aware of it and are offering support in varying ways whether it’s a room for the night, offering food or drink or are happy just to stop and have a chat.

Have you learned anything about yourself on this journey? What about the world?
I have learned patience. I have had no choice but to accept the things that I cannot change. I have also been given an insight to people around the world who donate via the Everyday Hero online donation page. People who live in other countries appreciate what someone else is doing in a country far away from them has been very humbling.
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You have set the bar high for yourself. Do you think you will do something this ambitious again?
Watch this space I guess. There’s always something to be done and a difference to be made somewhere.

When you get home what is the first thing you want to do?
Hug my wife and not let her out of my sight for the longest time.

Is there something in your daily life you miss?
Just a daily routine.

What do you hope people will take away from your example of selflessness?
The fact that any person who reads this is no different than me. We can all make a difference. You don’t have to walk around a country to do it. Just step out of your comfort zone and have a go.

What is the silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
I’m doing it now, lol.
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Who inspires you?
The 501st Legion and my wife.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Get into it. It’s been by far the best thing I have ever done. I can’t tell you how good it feels to make a difference. Ask a 501st Legion member, they’ll tell you.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
As long as people donate, It doesn’t matter. I remember walking across the Nullarbor plain and coming into a roadhouse and being told by the people that work there ” we heard there was a spaceman coming” as long as people donate I don’t care what they call me, and they donated.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
The current Sandtrooper costume I’m walking around Australia in now.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m an ex-Australian Defence Force member.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
If I could I would work for the 501st Legion so I could make a difference every day. At the moment I think that is my job, lol.
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Tell us something random about yourself: I have won State, National and World titles in cycling.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Isn’t Star Trek a courier company?

Marvel or DC: I lean more towards Marvel.

Favourite Comic Series: The Phantom.

Favourite Comic Character: The Phantom

Least favourite super hero and why: Aqua Man, apart from talking to fish, what does he do?

Favourite Book: I don’t have a single favourite, I enjoy history.

Favourite Video Game: I’ll play anything you put in front of me, but I like the first person games.

Favourite Convention: Armageddon is a favourite.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): I’m all about the 501st Legion. I’m a member to the Terror Australia’s Garrison’s Knightfall Squad. http://www.501st.com, www.monashchildrenshospital.org.

Please donate via ‘Everyday hero, Storming Australia’… https://newmonashchildrenshospital.everydayhero.com/au/stormingaroundaustralia

Follow my progress and video diary posts at: https://www.facebook.com/StormingAustralia
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Heroes Behind the Masks: Umbrella Corp Utah

Most of the people you have met so far dress up as super heroes to CAUSEplay.  This weeks Heroes Behind the Masks is just a little bit different! This group uses costumes from the Resident Evil video games and movies! If you like zombies the way I do than you know these movies!  This group shows us that even the bad guys have a little heart.  One of my favorite things about this group is their support of National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  I hope you like getting to know this unique group a little bit more!  And remember, there are many cosplay options to CAUSEplay and this group helps proves it!  –Mala
 photo FB_IMG_1428139797086_zps2r16l76r.jpgName: Umbrella Corp Utah

Interviewee: Steve Strank

Location(s): Ogden, Utah

When was the group started? And by who?:
The group has been around roughly a year and a half. The original group was rounded up as a security detail for Strankenstein’s Zombie Prom for Juvenile Diabetes. I wanted all my security people dressed as a Zombie response team. Once we were all together it was discussed that we kind of resembled the Umbrella Corporation. After that we knew we had to continue the awesomeness!

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Umbrella Corp Utah or CAUSEplay in general?
Me and my wife Trish have always had a passion for putting on charity events. Although we tend to do it in very abnormal ways like Zombie events. This just seemed like another fun way to do that.

Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other  designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just  a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a  501(c)3 status?
We do not have a 501(c)3, we work closely with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and one of our board members is on the board with the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial. A large portion of our group are law enforcement officers, so this charity means a lot to us.
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How can someone join Umbrella Corp Utah?
Info for joining our group can be found at www.utahumbrella.org we do have strict code of conduct rules.

If someone is in another state how can they find their local chapter of Umbrella Corp? There are many many groups around the world. We all post on the Facebook page Umbrella corporation worldwide.

What type of costumes do you accept?
Our group has 3 basic characters. Scientists (lab attire), Agents (black tactical look) and Soldiers (black SWAT look)
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Do you have a costume approval  process, if so what is it?
When potential applicats put a costume together they must submit a photo for our board members to vote on.

What do you look for in a costume?
When looking at a costume it must blend well with the rest of the group. Nothing too flashy or things that stand out. No skull masks or anything that shows expression.

Can I  join as a zombie?!
While we’re not currently recruiting zombies, if people want to be our “on call Zombie” for events, we do occasionally need Zombies for video/photo shoots and occasional events.

Do you often appear at local Zombie walks?
We appear at almost every Utah Zombie walks/events.

 photo FB_IMG_1428139893711_zpsjszeomxo.jpgDo you have people willing to help with the costume making process or  a resource guide to help with the process?
Having so many law enforcement officers and avid airsoft players, we have no shortage of places to recommend for you to get your gear.

How many people are currently in your group or chapter?
Roughly 35. Some are on reserve status do to being deployed or police Academy etc.

Leadership structure: We have a president, vice president, board of directors, and support staff.   And then we have 4 squads, each having a squad leader.

How is the leadership determined?
We started off with a core group placed in positions. When someone leaves the group for any reason, we vote a new person into that position
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What have you done for charities?
We have done escort duty for a make a wish child around comic con, we did the ever popular ice bucket challenge as a group. We raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, we’ve helped with the toys for tots charity, we’ve done so many various ones I can’t remember them all.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We usually attend whatever events we can. We don’t always fit into the themes however. (people prefer superheroes!)

How did you build you “clientele”?
We strive to be dependable, helpful, and courteous. We want people to know that just because we play bad guys, we’re always there to be helpful. We have started to gain a reputation for it which I am proud of.

Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

How much money has the Umbrella Corp Utah raised for the organizations it works with? Particularly at FanX 2015 for the National Law  Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. What is the highest amount you  have raised other than this event? I think our total at FanX was around $1200 which set our record for an event.

What is the most amazing thing Umbrella Corp Utah has accomplished so far?
I think showing that bad guys also have a good side 🙂 people see big scary looking guys armored up with big guns, escorting a small fragile child on an adventure. And then seeing us all break down in tears at the end of it all.
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Where do you see Umbrella Corp Utah going in the future?
That’s a fantastic question. We’re currently deciding if we want to put a limit on members or not. We’re constantly trying to make things cooler for our booth. We want people to stop by and be blown away. In the umbrella corporation group community there’s always a competition on which group can pull off the coolest photos, booths, videos. So we’re always trying to get the upper hand.

Do you use any fun terminology specifically used by Umbrella Corp Utah?
We have a running joke about jackalopes.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay  group or getting into CAUSEplay?
Start a group! At first it’s intimidating, but so worth it!
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What future events do you have?
We’re currently trying to plan out our comic con booth.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UmbrellaCorpUtah

Website: www.utahumbrella.org

Email: umbrellacorput@gmail.com

Here is more information on Steve, the creator of this great group!

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
A mix of seeing people response to our group, and also seeing our group come together as a family.

What was your first CAUSEplay event? 
When we started Strankenstein’s Zombie Prom many years ago. Back then I dressed as a Zombie.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying?
I play the heavy machine gunner. I tote around the hand held minigun.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Escorting the make a wish child around comic con on his Dr. Who adventure.

Who inspires you?
The local cosplayers that continue to do their thing with gaining an ego. The ones who don’t need to be in the spotlight but do it just because they love it. The ones who stay up late trying to get that last piece of their costume just perfect. And the ones who always offer a helping hand and advice. There are a few local Jedi that will always have my support! You guys know who you are.

Tell us something random about yourself: There are only two phobias I have. Glitter (this is a well known fact) and Sharks!

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star wars!

Marvel or DC: Marvel! (they can do no wrong!)

Favorite Comic Series: The Walking dead

Favorite Comic Character: hhhmmm…. That’s tough. Always liked batman.

Favorite Book: American Sniper

Favorite Video Game: Battlefield 4

Favorite Convention: Comic Con

Hero Behind the Mask: Nashville’s Dark Knight

This weeks Hero Behind the Mask has a great Batman costume!!! Some of the pictures he sent for this interview seemed to be out of a movie!  I completely geeked out when I saw them!  He was also a guest at Toymania in Murfreesboro, TN.  Something many cosplayers dream of but few actually get to do!  In addition to making appearance, this man also focuses on charity and his community.  Which is why I selected him to be part of this interview!  I hope you enjoy this week’s  interview with one of the biggest Batman fans I have met so far!  – Mala

 photo 4_zps2enrwrp5.jpgName: Adam Prince (Nashville’s Dark Knight)

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
The love of the fictional character Batman.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
I love to entertain. I love what the character stands for and the impact he gives others.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
Shelbyville Autism benefit

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Anything Batman.. The character means a lot to me. In my life whenever things got bad I looked up to Batman as a child. When I’m Batman I feel proud to represent a iconic character.
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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment: I have so many… I was at an autism event in a small town seeing kids and families. My mother told me to grow up and stop wearing a mask until the day she saw me show up to a event and walk up to a kid in the hot summer heat , get down on my knees and hug the little boy and then hold his hand and talk with him while walking. I looked up at her to see her cry with joy.
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What is your favorite cause to support?
Children’ s hospitals . Helping promote literacy in all age groups. I like to show support to as many causes as possible, whether it’s supporting adult groups or children there are all equally worthy.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
Dance at a 5k event

Who inspires you?
Batman… As a child growing up in school I was picked on for my weight. I got into fights all the time with bullies. Girls and guys of all ages. My parents loved me and tried to help me the best they could until they decided to home school me after it became too much. I got to the point where I was suicidal and depressed until one day I was looking at a comic and realized I’m stronger than what the world throws at me. I went into karate and joined a volunteer fire dept around my high school years. I lost 105lbs. I got involved in volunteer work in my area. For the last 13 years I have been Batman. If I can reach one or two and help them then I feel that I’m doing what Batman did for me… to never give up.
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Advice for CAUSEplaying: Treat the character with respect. You don’t know who is watching you. You might make a difference in someone’s life.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
May 1 I have Free Comic Book Day. June I’ll have Fanboy Expo in Knoxville, TN. Superman Celebration in Metropolis IL. Dickson County Public Library in June. August Shelbyville Autism Benefit. September Nashville Wizard World. Ghouls at Grassmere in October. November GMX… I have random charity events and hospital visits I do randomly through the year. Not sure on exact dates.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
It doesn’t matter to me.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
1989 rubber Batman suit

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m a farmer and a painter and a writer/mascot for a batman website (www.darkknightnews.com)

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would say Fireman but I did that for 5 years. I would say any job that I was able to break away when I want to vounteerl my time seeing kids as Batman and still have the wealth to not worry about paying the bills on time would be awesome!
 photo 3_zpseia7vyp1.jpgTell us something random about yourself: I love going hiking in the mountains with my wife.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Trek

Marvel or DC: DC all the way 🙂

Favorite Comic Series: Batman No Mans Land

Favorite Comic Character: Batman

Favorite Book: Batman The Ultimate Evil

Favorite Video Game: All the Batman Arkham games

Favorite Convention: Nashville Wizard World

Affiliations (clubs or groups): The Bestine Fanforce / The Rogues Gallery / Heroes Alliance / Dark Knight News

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DknBatman

Instagraminstagram.com/nashvillesdarkknight/

Heroes Behind the Masks: Costumers With A Cause

OMG! Costumers With A Cause has some amazing costumes!  Between that and the fun they have at their events I struggles with selecting photos for this interview!!  These guys sure know how to have fun!  I know you will pic that up as you read through this great interview! In addition to that a few of the members were kind enough to answer a few questions so you can get to know them a little!  I hope you enjoy their interviews linked at the bottom!  –Mala
 photo group_zpszmcqkeyc.jpgGroup Name: Costumers With A Cause

Location(s): We started in the Orlando Florida area, I brought the group to the Chicago area 7 years ago. I have had costumers contacting me wanting to start up branches in New York, Ohio, Utah, South Carolina, and Los Angeles California

Mission Statement: Our mission is to work together with children’s charity organizations and charity events that promote community growth, unity, and hope for every child’s future. Together we believe that a world of difference can be made with a smile, photo or a single hello. It is our goal to utilize our talents to the best of our abilities in order to make a child’s day brighter.
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When was the group started? And by who?
I started the branch in the Midwest 7 years ago. Megan Barker started the organization originally in Florida

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Costumers With A Cause or CAUSEplay in general?
I have always supported and participated in charity events. I attended a Breast Cancer event that the 501st Midwest Garrison was at. I thought “hey, I am a costumer, I can do that too” My very next event I came dressed as Wolverine. I was friends with Megan in Florida where The CWC was created, and I asked her if I could use the group name in Chicago for Charity events and she happily agreed. I attended charity events in costume for the first 2 years by myself, but as my costuming family grew, I met several good hearted, like minded individuals. Now, we average 20 people in costume at every event we are able to attend,
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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status?
We do not currently have a 501(c)3, but we are actively looking into acquiring one. I do consider us a charity, as every single member is a volunteer and donates time, money and travel expenses to help raise money for any charity event we attend.

How can someone join Costumers With A Cause?
Contact us through the E-mail on our webpage, or contact us through Facebook.
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What type of costumes do you accept?
We accept any costumer who has a giving heart, and someone who works well and is non judgemental of others.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Many of our members make their own costumes, myself included. Everyone in our group is helpful and friendly, and willing to help anyone getting into costuming with advice and many will even give their time to help others with making costumes.

How many people are currently in your group?
Our private facebook page has over 600 members, but perhaps only about 200 of them are active costumers in our Midwest area organization.
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How is the leadership determined?
Although, right now, I am the Midwest Regional President. I organize most of our events, but I rely heavily on other members of the group who are very active in the charity work. I could never continue to do this all by myself. Truly, we are a giant team and we are all responsible for making our midwest group successful

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
I believe we have participated in almost every type of charity Fundraiser, We have done Hospital visit, and parades.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We have always attended events that were close to our members hearts, other events have been by request. However, this year we are hosting our first ever event. We are hosting a 1.5 mile walk fundraiser for St Jude childrens hospital. The event is April 3rd at the Volo Auto Museum in Mchenry Illinois
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How did you build you “clientele”?
Social Media and we have gotten several requests to appear after attending Parades in several towns.

Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
Not really, we have worked with all of the Childrens Hospitals in the Chicago Area, we have attended events for MS, MD, Breast Cancer, Children’s Leukemia, ALS, Autism, and many more.
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How much money has the Costumers With A Cause raised for the organization it works with?
I honestly have never kept track. Anytime we do an event we set up a donation page with that specific charity. Since we are not a 501(c)3 we do not accept donations ourselves, so we always ask that donations be made directly to the charity we are volunteering for at the time.

What is the most amazing thing Costumers With A Cause has accomplished so far?
The Happiness I see when we are at events is beyond anything I could describe. Both in Adults and Children.
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Where do you see Costumers With A Cause going in the future?
I am hoping we can continue to grow nationwide. Definitely hope to become a 501(c)3, and continue to move forward with hosting our own events, as well as continue to attend the events we already do.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
It is tough, it is a lot of work, but if your heart is in the right place, you can do it and you will be surprised to find all of the people in your areas wanting to join you.

What future events do you have?
May 3rd : MS Walk in Naperville Illinois. For more info click here.
May 9th : Tough Mudder Chicago.
May 16th : Muscular Dystrophy Walk at Catigny Park. For more info click here.
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CostumersWithACause

Website: http://www.costumerswithacause.org/

Twitter: @MidwestCWC

Email: costumerswithacause@gmail.com

Getting to know members of Costumers With A Cause: Scott Whipple

Getting to know members of Costumers With A Cause: Matthew Rzepka

​​Getting to know members of Costumers With A Cause: Anthony Vernon AKA Pally Kashra
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Hero Behind the Mask: Rafael ” Captain” Pedragon

This weeks feature is about a man with a positive attitude. His goal is to be a positive role model and I feel this man has achieved this! His Facebook page is full of positive messages.  If you are ever down just stop by to check out his words of wisdom.  This man is busy with charity events showing his drive to achieve his goal and how much he cares about his community.  I would like to introduce you to man whose long time love for Capitan America has influences and shaped him for the better.  –Mala

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Name: Rafael ” Captain” Pedragon

Location: New Jersey USA

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
While I was growing up, I always wanted to be a hero. My mother encouraged me to be and become whatever I wanted. She always motivated in doing not only great by the right thing. My pushed and educated me in being a good and giving person. I was part of groups when I was younger like 4-H club ( charities for the environment) and Serve America ( events for veterans) . I grew up loving Marvel heroes Like Captain America, The Avengers and the X-men. Those groups and characters always strive to do what was right and just. I tried for a long time to get the right costume to start . I always loved Captain America so that was my costume I made the best effort to have made to do CAUSEplaying with.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
My mother and loved ones. While I was growing up, I always wanted to be a hero. My mother encouraged me to be and become whatever I wanted. She always motivated in doing not only great by the right thing. My pushed and educated me in being a good and giving person. My mom was and is Supermom. My mother was supportive, and never laughed at my hobbies, interests or friends. Instead she, helped me follow my dreams by providing support, encouragement and the opportunity to do so. My mother was very patient with me growing up and still till this day supports what I do. My mother takes a lot of interest now in what I do. My mother and my wife fully support what I do and always give me positive feedback on the things I do for others. My wife and mother respect me and show that by bragging about the things I do while CAUSEplaying. The children and the people also keep me going. Those who love and appreciate what I do keep me doing it. They keep me believing so that keeps me motivated in doing more events.

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What was your first CAUSEplay event?
October 1st 2011 Heroes for Hayley was my first official event in my Captain America costume was per a CAUSEplay event

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I love Captain America . What he stands for and what his morals are. I grew up loving Marvel heroes Like Captain America, The Avengers and the X-men. Those groups and characters always strive to do what was right and just. I tried for a long time to get the right costume to start . I always loved Captain America so that was my costume I made the best effort to have made to do CAUSEplaying with. I still spend a lot of time and money having upgrading and making different version of Cap to use for events and Charity events.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment : Christopher Norris. A child with Autism who lives in CT. I did an Autism walk and he approached me with a map. Christopher explained the map to me as he wanted to help me protect the people so he made a map of where the bad guys are. I walked with this child and go to know him through the years. His father keeps in touch with me telling me how Christopher gets more and more out going. When I see Christopher , he usually is open to giving me hugs and speaks to me about things on his mind . Children with Autism don’t usually do these things with those who aren’t family. Christopher Norris Jr motivates me to be a better person. He is a good boy and makes a lot of people proud.

What is your favorite cause to support?
Ones that either involve children or Veterans. Those are my top two types of causes . Ones for children and Veterans.
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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
While in my Cap costume put on a whole bomb suit for the Ronald McDonald house. With My own costume on I had a whole bomb suit on top of that. It was very hot.

Who inspires you?
My mother and my wife. They always motivate me and inspire me to do and be better. My friends also inspire me with the great things they do for others in and out of costume. My friends who also CAUSEplay inspire me to do more events all the time when I have time.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Do it. Do not let people hold you back from doing something amazing for others. Do not let anyone hold you back from being kind because they think either you cant, aren’t good enough or other wise. Just do it and do good things often in and out of costume.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
As of right now I don’t know. A lot of times I get last minute calls for events either to do charities or appearances for people. I usually post it on the East Coast Avengers page ad my Cap America ECA page.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Does it matter? A lot of people make a big deal out of it cause they either don’t do anime characters or only comic characters. The thing is I like anime and love reading comics but I get in costumes for both. I have done costumes for video games, anime and comics. I plan to do more so really doesn’t matter.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
Angeal from Crisis core. My first costume when I was a kid though was I was a US Soldier. My mother said I always wanted to be a soldier or a hero she said.
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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
Supervisor for one of the largest privately held security, investigative, and background screening services firms in the United States.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
Travel the USA in a  Captain America costume motivating kids and parents to be good and better people . Pretty much a motivational speaker in a costume. I think that would be a dream job for me. Doing that till the day I retire and hope my children continue on with what I was doing. A man can dream.

Tell us something random about yourself: I was the nerdy weak kid who used  to get beat up and called names for being small and dorky. I have a BA in communications and an MBA in business from a private school in Massachusetts.
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Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Trek

Marvel or DC: MARVEL !

Favorite Comic Series: its Between Captain America (classic) and the Exiles ( Reality jumping team) .

Favorite Comic Character: Captain America ( Steve Rogers) and Mimic( Classic and Exiles).

Favorite Book: Mice and Men

Favorite Video Game: Marvel Heroes 2015

Favorite Convention: NYCC

Affiliations (clubs or groups): East Coast Avengers

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CapAmericaECA

Hero Behind the Mask: Anna Belle

Not going to lie! This weeks feature is one of my most favorite people ever! Not only was she the maid of honor at my wedding but she is my best friend and costume wife (its like a derby wife, if you are familiar with that term).  We even bought rings! Talk about commitment!  I will never forget the first time I meet her in as Poison Ivy.  We are forever the Blue Girl and the Green Girl.  **Whispers** I was Mystique that day, she was Poison Ivy, and no one knew who we were. **Ends whispering**.  I will never forget the conventions, the commercial shots, winning Halloween costume contests together, photo shots, and the everything in between we have done together. It has been a pleasure to begin my CAUSEplay career with her and I look forward to following her in all her costume endeavors.  Be it CAUSEplay, mystery theater, plays, musicals, or make-up!    –Mala

 photo 10376267_334723343402346_5166054532058404357_n_zpsz01wnmzw.jpgName:  Anna Belle

Location:  Salt Lake City, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying? 
A happy accident.  I joined up with a friend who wanted Disney characters at a local charity fundraiser.  I went as Mary Poppins.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying? 
The incredible high of being able to help people and make children smile.  Nothing makes me feel better than making a difference in a kid’s life.

What was your first CAUSEplay event? 
Angel’s Hands Foundation.  I dressed as Mary Poppins.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why? 
Belle.  Everyone knows who she is, the kids LOVE her, and to be honest, what girl doesn’t love dressing up in a beautiful gown?

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :  There are so many.  There are many children who touch your heart with their kindness and positive attitudes so it’s hard to pick a most memorable moment.  I’d have to say one is when a sick little girl asked me to sing “A Spoonful of Sugar” with her while I was dressed as Mary Poppins or the child at a shop-with-a-cop day told me she had spent her Christmas spending money on church shoes, warm boots, and a gift for her brother.  So selfless.

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What is your favorite cause to support?
My favorite events are hospital visits.  Those kids are so happy to see their heroes!  Also, the shop-with-a-cop events around Christmas.

Who inspires you?
Honestly, the kids.  I am so floored by the love and generosity and the positive attitudes of the children I get to help support.  No matter what they are going through, physically or emotionally or both, they light up and are always so happy when they get to see their heroes.  I love that feeling and it makes me want to be a better person.  More patient, loving, kind.  More like them.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: 
Put your heart and soul into it completely opening yourself up to the experience.  If you do that, you will be vulnerable and sensitive and that can be scary, but it’s so worth it when you have your heart touched by the sweet little people you are there to help.  When you see the complete gratitude and adoration and happiness you’ve given them, it will change your life.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up? 
With the charity group I’m a part of, HEROIC, we have several events with local libraries, as well as with MDA fundraising for their kid’s summer camp!

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer? 
Costumer by far.  My degree is in costume and makeup design and I feel like it’s viewed as a more professional title.

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What was your first costume/cosplay? 
When I was 4 months old, my mom dressed me as a baby witch for Halloween.  In all honesty, I feel like I’ve been doing it my whole life because of my involvement in the theatre, but my first costume for a charity purpose was Mary Poppins.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)? 
I’m an Executive Assistant for my family’s chiropractic practice.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I truly love what I do, but if I had a different job, I’d choose to be a designer full time.  I love the creative process and the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project.  I just wish I had more time to do it.

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Tell us something random about yourself:  I am the child whisperer.  They just seem to love and gravitate toward me!  I love children, so it works out well for me though.  It also helps in raising my army of glitter minions as I work to take over the world.  Mwahahaha!!!

Star Wars or Star Trek:  Star Trek.  I have loved it for years.  I’ve never even seen the Star Wars movies (except for the first of the newer ones)

Marvel or DC:  Either!  I have costumes from both universes.  I feel like they both have great qualities and fantastic characters!

Favorite Comic Series:  X-Men for sure!  I also really like Batman: The Animated Series (I know, it’s a cartoon not a comic, but still!)

Favorite Comic Character:  Rogue.  She has a lot of emotional depth and sometimes it is difficult to get her to open up to people.  I feel like I can relate to her on that level.

Favorite Book: I feel like that’s asking a parent to pick a favorite child.  I will say that the Complete Works of William Shakespeare is one of my most prized possessions.  I have a copy given to me by my parents in High School, and I have my grandmother’s old copy.  They mean a lot to me sentimentally.

Favorite Video Game:  Well, as a kid I really liked Crash Bandicoot and Mario Brothers.  I also liked Duck Hunt and the Aladdin game for Sega.  As an adult, I haven’t ever really been into video games though.

Favorite Convention:  Steamfest.  I have had more fun running around with my friends and I love the history of the time period surrounding the steampunk culture.  History was my back up major in college, so I’m sort of a nerd for that.

Affiliations (clubs or groups):  HEROIC 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AnnaBelleCostumes

Hero Behind the Mask: Shaun O.

This week’s feature is about an amazing guy that I have the privilege to know! He is kind and giving! Plus I have seen him in action interacting with children. He is more than happy to get to their level to talk and take a picture. Not only does he use his costumes for charity but he has donated items that were raffled of to raise money at Salt Lake City Fan X 2014 for the MDA! Their is way more to say about his personal life and the example he has been but that is for him to share, not me. Thank you for being a shinning example in and out of costume. – Mala

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Name: Shaun O.

Location: Seattle-ish, WA

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I think the “CAUSEplaying” just happened. Prior to building my first costume, I met someone who shared a video called “Heart of an Empire” and told me to watch it before committing to the group. The video focused on the charity aspect of the 501st and the children which it impacted. That video pretty much set the standard and purpose who the costuming world I was about to enter.

In fact I actually befriended one of the main people in that movie this past year and hoping to meet him sometime this year.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
Funny you should ask that. It is twofold. I like meeting new people, in fact I would have never meet half the people I talk to, had it not been for costuming. The major reason however, is that I want to bring a smile to a child or a child at heart. Being able to bring a little happiness in a world that isn’t so much, is what makes it worth it to me.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My first event was a birthday party for a 6yr old girl with brain cancer. The event was a pretty large community event in Florida and the first time I would be wearing armor in public. I was pretty lost and had no clue what I was supposed to do. Shortly after that event I was on my way to Seattle to start my new job.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Meh…that’s a tough one. I like my Commander Wolffe a lot and I get into character when I am in costume, which really gets people going, especially with the Kiwi accent. However, I think I would have to go with Spidey on this one. My comic version of Spider-man seems to always be a hit, who doesn’t like your friendly neighborhood web slinger?

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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:Though I have had many memorable moments the one that always sticks out to me is during an event for foster children which come together (as they have been adopted) and have a picnic and field day. That day I met a girl name Kayden, which seemed to not know who I was in costume, which kind of puzzled me, it wasn’t until one of her sisters came up to me and whispered that, Kayden, was blind and unable to see who I was. That day I had to walk away for a little and take back what I had heard and experienced. It just broke my heart that this sweet little girl had already been through so much in her life and didn’t seem to have one complaint. I ended up spending the rest of the day playing with the other children but Kayden took a liking to me and ended up coming back, wanting to spend some time, and even having lunch with her and her family.

What is your favorite cause to support?
Anything that is community based, especially for kids. I have been pretty active, as of late, with Make-A-Wish.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
This one is easy, I’ve actually had to get dressed in a Porta-Potty, it was pretty tight in there and the fact that it smelt like flowers was amazing…

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Who inspires you?
Walt Disney is someone that I have a lot of respect for. It always amazes me that he grew up from humble beginnings, had a lot of setbacks and failures along the way, but stuck with his dream. Every time I walk into Disney World it amazes me that this guy had all this in his head at one time and was determined to make it work. He had a vision; he saw something where others saw nothing. That helps me realize that dreams really can come true, as corny as that sounds.

My dad is also someone else on a more personal scale which has done similar things, coming from a very poor family and making something for himself, with a lot resistance and yet persevering. Growing up my dad could fix just about anything and in that I knew that nothing was beyond my grasp, just needed to work hard and in some cases people have the right people to help along the way. If I don’t know how to do something, I usually find someone who does and soak it in…another tool in the tool belt.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: 1) Do it because you want to 2) It’s a hobby 3) Have fun and learn as much as you can 4) It can be a very expensive hobby, so try to not go and follow every fandom. You will be poor.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
I have no idea. It always seems very last minute.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Costumer, seems like there is just a lot of hype with the word “cosplayer” these days…sadly I actually use “cosplay” for my fan page name.

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What was your first costume/cosplay?
My first was a Clone trooper from the Clone Wars, the animated series. I really liked the concept and idea that Clone troopers were breed for combat and also wanted to have a character that I could relate to, which happened to be Commander Wolffe.

My love for Clones started when watching Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Yoda’s “Begun the Clone Wars, has” and seeing an army of Clone troopers marching. I thought having armor like that would be cool. While I was deployed in Iraq I brought The Clone Wars to watch and feel in love with the characters, their struggles, who they began to take on personalities, and become their own. Once I got back Stateside, I found out that you could actually build animated armor kits, and so it began…Kamino.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I currently work as an engineer for one of the largest commercial airplane manufacturers in the world; That’s what pays the bills.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
Well…that’s been on my mind for some years now…I joke around that I’d be happy selling coconuts on the beach somewhere…though the engineer in me says that isn’t gonna pan out. I’m hoping the space program picks up, that was what I went to school for and hoped to eventually build the next Space Station or help work on a Lunar Base. I need something where I can work with my hands…an Imangineer at Disney was always a cool job I’d like to have.

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Tell us something random about yourself: I listen to Taylor Swift when I workout…sometimes.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars…I will refer to quotes from Fan Boys if we continue this question.

Marvel or DC: Tough one…probably gonna go with DC on this one because it seems like Marvel is all over the place and messing up a lot of characters lately.

Favorite Comic Series: A no brainer that I read Amazing Spiderman but I have also really gotten into the new Harley Quinn series ( I like Harley).

Favorite Comic Character: Peter Parker…he’s probably your most complex character you’ll meet. Depending on the series you get different looks and stories, however, but I go for the lost of his Uncle Ben and losing his first love, Gwen Stacey, and how that happens to both drive him to be bigger than himself and also cripple him at times emotionally.

Favorite Book: Depends on what mood Im in. The Hobbit was always a good read. I started reading the Republic Commando series and really like those books. Last leadership/management book I read was Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and that was a good read, as well. The last one that sticks out that I read was Fearless which talks and follows the life of Adam Brown (a Navy SEAL) and his struggles in life: personal, through BUDs, and Deployments.

Favorite Video Game: Any of the Grand Theft Autos. I just like stealing cars, running red lights, being chased by the police, and picking up…friends.

Favorite Convention: I have just recently started going to conventions. I actually started when I moved to Seattle. However, my favorite Con so far was Celebration 6. I was able to meet up with a ton of friends I had personally met and people I met online. It was fun just hanging out, costuming in groups, and the random adventures at night. Good times were had.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, 501st Clone Trooper Detachment, and the North West Mutant Academy.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/That-Guy-Cosplay/160248877502575

Other forms of social media: I really don’t like social media

Heroes Behind the Masks: Heroes n More

With a tag line like “Helping Children one smile at a time!” how can you not smile yourself!  This amazing groups goal is one reason I CAUSEplay and what I hope to do myself!  Show people that anyone can be involved in their community and make a difference. You only have to go out and do it! As I learn more about various CAUSEplayers and groups I am amazed to find that one person can inspire so many!  This group from Texas was also inspired by the amazing Aquaman-San Antonio’s Amazing Adventures.  I am sure he is pleased to see that he has made a difference in the lives of his friends and people who have no idea how he inspired others by being a good and amazing man.  Remember anyone can be a hero! This group also recently debuted their amazing Hulk Buster!  Check it out on their Facebook page here!  This is an amazing feat to make charity events fun and memorable!!  –Mala

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Group Name: Heroes n More

Mission Statement: Our organization is a group of special superheroes giving struggling kids a reason to smile, hope and dream. We also raise awareness about rare diseases, disabilities and help the world learn about a whole army of resilient, inspiring fighters and survivors. Our goal is for everyone to realize that it does not take a cape or costume to go out and help someone, just the desire to become an active force in the world around you and make our world a better place.  If you know of a child who needs our help, please contact us!

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Location(s): We work with children in San Antonio, TX and the surrounding area.  Plus we send out our Hero/Princess Boxes to 3-5 children with in the 50 states.

Can you elaborate on the Hero/Princess Boxes?
Our Hero/Princess Box program is a box full of toys, homemade gifts, books, crayons, dolls, cars, comics, etc. and a note from us.

How do you determine who qualifies for one of these boxes?
All Qualify  for the boxes, the way they are picked is by some one contacting me and telling me the child’s story or by recommendation of one of my Heroes or someone in our community.  The sole reason we started this program is to bring joy to a child and let them know they have a whole team of Heroes thinking about them.

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If someone were interested in donating for these Hero/Princess Boxes what is needed?
If someone would like to donate to our Box program, they may do so via paypal, in person or thru the mail. We take all gifts for the boxes. We have the most need for books and comics.  Our Paypal info is: heroesandmore@paypal.com

Since you ship these boxes throughout the US can people also assist with donating funding for shipping?  If so, where would they send their donations to?
Yes we would love to have someone help with the shipping cost, they vary based on the size of the box and range from 5-20 dollars.  Our Paypal info is: heroesandmore@paypal.com

Is it 3-5 a month or a year? 
We ship 3-5 a month.

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When was the group started?
We have been working in San Antonio, TX for 1 and half years.

What inspired you to create Heroes n More or CAUSEplay in general?
We started this Team because we have a special needs son and wanted to give back the way folks gave back to us. Our other inspirations Were one of my very first team members and dear sweet friend Aquaman Sa and Princess Savannah Gomez. Both of these sweet Angels are now in heaven together. We see them as our guardian Angels and  the driving force to this team of loving hearts and helping hands!

Brief history/overview: We work with special needs, terminally ill children  and special groups. We actively speak out about Childhood and Adult cancer. Our team members are a family and we not only support those who need us most but we support each other.  We are more than folks who put on a cosplay, we are FAMILY.

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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation?  If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good?  And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3  status?
Yes we are a 501(c) Nonprofit Charity Organization.

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How can someone join Heroes n More?
We have a application process due to the privacy of the Special children and groups we work with. All you do is contact us on our Page and we will have a convo with you and send the needed paper work. Once we receive them back we will go thru them and contact you back.

What type of costumes do you accept?  Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it?  What do you look for in a costume?
We accept all cosplays. As long as they are child friendly, it doesn’t matter to us if you made it or got it in a store. We look at the heart of the Hero wearing the cosplay.

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Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Yes we do have a Team Seamstress , as well as multi very skilled ladies who can sew. Along with many who can build props and Armor.

How many people are currently in your group?
We currently have 42 members.

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How is the leadership determined?
We look at the leadership skills of all of our members and then if we see someone  really sticks out, we approach them if a position on the Broad is open. Our broad members make all of the decision for the team but all members have a vote.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?  
Every year we attend and support The local cancer walks, Autism walks and events these groups hold. As well as all events the Elks Lodge #216 hold. For our special case children we hold events that are just for them. For our Little Princesses we do Tea Parties and Princess for the Day events. For our little Heroes we do Hero days and Pizza parties! Plus if the child is to sick to come out we do home visits. We also support our local Autism groups by attending the events, at these events we provide Hero support”, were we play games, take pictures and bring buckets of joy! Other things we do every few months are Fundraiser events, because our team is a Non Profit all of the monies donated to us will go 100% back to the cause. If a local business would like to give to the a donations to help us fund one of the children or events you can email us.

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Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We create our own events and also attend when asked to.

How did you build you “clientele”?
We receive info on our Special case children from the local community.

Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
The organizations we work with on a regular basses are: Childhood Cancers, Autism Support Groups and The Ekls Lodge #216.

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What is the most amazing thing Heroes n More has accomplished so far?
We think everything we are able to do is amazing! Because we are allowed time with these special children, we are part of bringing them Joy when they need it the most!

Where do you see Heroes n More going in the future?
Our Team is growing by leaps and bounds, we have HUGE plans this year, so keep your eyes out.

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Do you use any fun terminology specifically Heroes n More?
Yes we do. Our Boxes we send out are called: Hero Boxes fro boys and Princess Boxes for girls. We also call our self, Hero Support. Also our tag is: Helping Children one smile at a time!

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay? 
Our group has spread so much love and taught many this way of life, a few of our original  members have gone on the start there own groups. To us this is the best testimony because it means this whole area will soon be covered with loving hearts and helping hands!

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Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay: Just be a driving force of Good will and joy in your local community, if all just spread love we can make this world a better place!

What future events do you have?
Our books are already so full for 2015. Some events we will be at in 2015 are: Any Baby Can Autism walk, The Oral Cancer walk in SA, Local Breast cancer walk(one of our team members is fighting it) and Head for the Cure.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heroesnmore

Website:www.heroesnmore.com

Email: heroesandmore@gmail.com

Paypal: heroesandmore@paypal.com

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A member of Heroes n’ More with the one and only Aquaman of San Antonio, who inspired many to use their love of costumes and comics to give back.

Hero Behind the Mask: Knightmage

I have followed Knightmage for sometime now and I am always blown a way by his skill level as a costumer, his attitude, his compassion, and his level of giving!  I will forever be amazed at how quickly he can produce some complicated costumes!  If you haven’t seen his Predator yet check out his Facebook page (one costume that is not shown in any pictures here)!  You won’t be disappointed!  There is so much that can be said about this man but I feel his own words do more justice for his character than I could even attempt!   –Mala

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Name: Michael “Knightmage” Wilson

Location: Youngstown, Ohio

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
It started in 2011 when I decided that I wanted to make my Halloween costume. I went with John Stewart Green Lantern. After Halloween a friend asked me if I could participate in a local Relay For Life event. The theme was “America” so I thought, ok, I’ll make Captain America. After that I started attending birthday parties as Spiderman and soon after I made my Batman costume. That’s when I really started getting more involved with charity events. As time went on and the popularity of my cosplaying grew I started thinking that I could use this as an avenue to help a lot of people and organizations. Once I started getting invited to conventions and people would ask if I sold prints of my cosplays, again I thought this would be a great chance. So I came up with the idea to give my prints and autographs out for free. All I ask is a donation of any amount to my charity of choice. Every convention I attend I do a different charity. I try to stay local to where the convention is. I’ve since started to add a “Props Raffle for Charity”. Everything I do involving cosplaying where I’m handed money, whether it be a con appearance, birthday party, selling of prints and props, it all goes to charity. That’s my way of giving back for all the amazing opportunities that I’ve been given through cosplaying.

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What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
A few things. Again, it’s really my way of giving back. Once cosplaying went from a hobby to a passion I really wanted to strive to be an idea. I didn’t just want to create something, wear it then be done. I wanted it to mean something. I wanted to do more and hopefully inspire others with it. There’s so many different layers of cosplaying to me now and there’s so many more yet undiscovered. Showing how you can turn a hobby/passion you love into a charitable act of love is just one layer. But it’s a huge layer for me and it continues to drive me to keep doing more. When I started cosplaying I never expected it to go in this direction. Now two years later I’m getting The Presidential Volunteer’s Service Award and paying off layaways as an anime character. It’s just crazy how life happens and the twists and turns it gives you.

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What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a Relay For Life. I made Captain America specifically for that event. I had an absolute blast and it was well received.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I’ve tested out only a hand full of different costumes at events but Batman is probably my favorite. All kids and even adults love Batman. The reception I get from it is something really special.

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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Wow. There’s been so many. I think maybe the “Lighting the Bat Signal for Jayden” event. This was a local event for a young four-year old boy named Jayden. He has a rare disease known as MSD Leukemia. At the time he was only given months to live. He’s a huge Batman fan so the idea was to make an event so big that it would catch the attention of Christian Bale in hopes that he would come and meet the young man. Well as time drew closer the idea was thought to have a bunch of superheroes there as well. This is when I decided to make my Batman. I would be Batman for the event. A very small organization at the time from Cleveland “Superheroes to kids in Ohio” got involved and one of the members had just purchased a Batman suit. So the reigns of doing that honor was handed to him. I decided to wear my Green Lantern outfit. When the day came, with only weeks of planning, us heroes (around 12) had a police escort to the local stadium with over 10 thousand people waiting. It was unbelievable. Then comes little Jayden. We all greeted him. He over joyed. As it got dark Jayden lit the Bat signal in the sky. Literally a fully working large spotlight Bat signal. A very kind gentleman who owned one brought his from Cleveland and played the role of Alfred. With the signal in the sky and music playing through the stadium speakers, Batman rolls in with his Batmobile. I don’t remember the type of car but it was donated for use from a dealership. The car was a black sleek sports car and was worth around $500,000. Batman took Jayden for a quick ride and returned to the stadium where we all took photos and chatted. The outpouring of support shown from the community was just incredible. I think that will forever be my favorite moment. The story gets better as Christian Bale did indeed get word and flew Jayden and his family out to Los Angeles to spend the weekend with him. Also Jayden is still with us and is on the road to recovery.

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What is your favorite cause to support?
I have a lot but one charity I will always support and is my go to is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They do so much and to be able to help give someone their last wish, that’s just the ultimate gift to give.

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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
So far I haven’t had to do anything really crazy but I’m sure after this interview post that’ll change.

Who inspires you?
I find inspiration from everywhere and everybody. Sounds cliché but it’s absolutely true. There are so many people, especially in the cosplay community who inspires me. I feed off of positive energy. If it’s around then that’s what inspires me.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: So many things to say here. First off you need to be confident in yourself, be true to the character and mindful of your audience.. 90% of charity cosplaying involves working with kids. If you’re Superman then you need to be the portrayal of Superman. I don’t mean looking like you just came out of a comic book. I mean your personality. You want that kid to believe that you are Superman regardless of what you personally look like because all that kid will see is that “S” on your chest. Getting into charity work can be difficult but don’t get discouraged. Create a resume/bio of yourself to give organizations. Get a background check done of yourself too. They need to know that they can trust you and you want to be able to show that they can. Anytime money is involved, especially if you’re raising it, then you need to keep all receipts. Start small. You probably won’t be able to just contact a Children’s Hospital and start visits. You need to build a rapport with your community first. I always say that Relay for Life’s are great for that. They’re everywhere and there’s so many connections in the community that you can make. I can go on and on but I’m always available to help and give some tips and guidance.

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What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Well, since I raise money at every convention I guest at I have a bunch of those coming up. Many I can’t say yet because they haven’t announced me. And of course there’s always a charity event in need of a super hero somewhere. I post my schedule as it comes regularly on my social media pages.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
It honestly doesn’t matter to me. Neither are derogatory terms and both generally means the same.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
John Stewart Green Lantern. Made that for Halloween in 2011.

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I am a Deputy Sheriff. I’ve been in law enforcement for 15 years. People are always shocked to learn that.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I’ve always been fascinated with fight choreography and stunts so I would have to say a professional stuntman. I’ve went to stunt school and have done extra work and stunt work for a few Hollywood movies but I’ve never pursued it as a career.

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Tell us something random about yourself: I am deathly afraid of spiders!

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars! C’mon, The Force is where it’s at!

Marvel or DC: That’s tough. Character wise I love DC but when it comes to building a story I love Marvel. So overall I think Marvel has the edge with me.

Favorite Comic Series: Batman. The one character who is always a constant to me is Batman.

Favorite Comic Character: Spawn. Such an incredible story and look. Plus he’s incredibly fun to cosplay.

Favorite Book: I’m not religious but The Bible.

Favorite Video Game: Oregon Trail! No, seriously, probably the Call of Duty series. It’s so much fun. So many hours and days wasted just doing some killin.

Favorite Convention: C2E2. I have so much fun at this convention every year. I’ve met so many awesome friends there. So many amazing cosplays also. It’s a great show with a mix of pop culture and comics. It’s just awesome all around. A very close second is Dragon Con. That con is just crazy nuts but in a good party way.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio, The Heroes Alliance Ohio, Together Brothers Productions, Shot in the Dark Comics, and the East Coast Avengers.

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Knightmage1

Twitter: @Knightmage

Instagram: Knightmage1

How to get into CAUSEplay

How to get into CAUSEplay

Written by Adventures With Mala
Edited by Harleys Vintage Kisses

There are many options to get into CAUSEplay. This will have some recommendations, but please keep in mind there are many ways to use your costumes to give back to the community.   Hopefully this will get the wheels turning and inspire you!

You may be asking why you should listen to me. At the risk of sounding conceited, there are several reasons. First, while living in Utah I participated with H.E.R.O.I.C., Inc. for nearly two years. Second, before joining this organization, I volunteered, in my community without costume, in several aspects. Third, I am currently finding ways to CAUSEplay in my new community. In other words, I am living what I am writing about. Finally, I have a Master’s in Public Administration where I studied nonprofit organizations.

So, how can you get involved? The first, and easiest, way to get involved is to see what groups may be in your area. Each group will have its own acceptance process and policies. I highly recommend contacting the group to find out their process AND the requirements to keep your status with the group. For example, how many events must you attend to maintain your status with the group? What are their expectations? Does their overall mission and purpose fit with your goals? What are their costume requirements? Once you know the expectations evaluate if this fits your life and individual expectations. If everything says green light, then congratulations, you are now involved in CAUSEplaying!

There are many organizations out there that participate in a CAUSEplaying capacity. All of the Star Wars costuming clubs do fundraising and other forms of CAUSEplay, though they do not call it this. There may be a superhero or Disney princess group in your area, Harry Potter club, Ghostbusters, Resident Evil Hives, Star Trek (though I have not heard of this group being active in a CAUSEplay capacity), and so many more! Please note I will be compiling a list and information of various groups, their locations, and websites to publish on this site at a later date. If you have one to bring to my attention please let me know because I know there are many I am not aware of!

If no group exists in your area you can create your own. This can be a very time consuming and frustrating process. In essence you will be creating a small business. If you want to take donations directly I recommend that you file for a nonprofit organization 501(c)3 status in order to have a Tax ID people can donate to. This will protect you legally and add legitimacy to your cause. Otherwise you will have to partner with an organization with an established Tax ID for taking donations on their behalf. Before you take on a feat like establishing an organization or group make sure you are up for the challenge and have a good support system. Find people with a similar interest and passion to carry the load with you. This will make managing events easier and can attract new people to your group. If you are not sure where to start with this look for books on starting a nonprofit organization and reach out to other groups to find out how they created their groups. As mentioned above each group has different policies. You can always review the policies and decide what works best for you.

If the idea of a group does not work for you, or you do not want to start one, then you will have to create opportunities yourself. As we speak I am doing just this by creating a toy drive for a local homeless shelter. Something like this can be done with a community partner (a.k.a. a local business). For example, a comic book, hobby, or toy store. H.E.R.O.I.C., Inc. in Utah allies with Hastur Games & Comics each year to help Toys for Tots. I have allied myself with a local toy store that I frequent. I recommend that you establish a relationship with the company before you approach them with this idea. It will increase the likelihood of them agreeing, because they know you. If you do not know anyone personally maybe a friend does who would be willing to act as a reference and facilitate this conversation. Keep in mind that drives are not limited to toys. You can arrange a food, clothing, or school supply drive. The purpose of the drive should focus on the needs of the charity you are assisting.

With Christmas just around the corner the bell ringers will also be out. You can volunteer your time to help them out, as well. Just make sure they are aware you will be doing this in costume and that they are okay with this since you will be representing their organization. People will notice the costumes and ask what you are doing. Also, getting their picture with a hero increases the likelihood of donations.

If a drive or bell ringing do not seem like the perfect fit you can always approach an organization you care about to find out what fundraising efforts, festivals, walks, or events they have coming up and if your services might be useful. Sometimes organizations have a super hero themed event where having people in costume would add to the experience. One of my favorite annual events as a member of H.E.R.O.I.C., Inc. was with a local library’s program for children with disabilities. Each year they have a super hero themed event where we interacted with the children. They had various activities that helped increase dexterity, cognitive, and social skills. The kids were learning and practicing skills, without even realizing it, while hanging out with their favorite heroes!

Some people will argue that showing up to an event does not count as a charity, I would like to remind you of the story I just shared and how we helped the children get involved at the library event. It is important to remember that most nonprofits utilize volunteers to meet the missions because this reduces the need for staff and the overhead costs. By volunteering your time you ARE helping the organization! If you help provide a fun environment at a walk or other event then participants are more likely to attend again, increasing the rate of donations and volunteerism for that organization.

Other methods of CAUSEplay can be bringing attention to a cause or organization. This is something that can be helpful for a nonprofit organization. A great example of this is Cosplayers for a Cure in Canada who use the convention environment to bring attention to Breast Cancer. Just by talking and advertising for an issue you are helping an organization and a cause. Recall the attention Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) received from the viral videos of the ice bucket challenge. Though not necessarily a CAUSEplay event, I participated in costume and challenged my costume friends to do this in costume as well. Even if people didn’t donate the nation was talking about this chronic disease and learning that it is not called Lou Gehrig’s disease and that there is more to it. How many of you googled to see what exactly ALS was when you first saw the videos?

There are even simpler ways to CAUSEplay. If you make props you can always see if Make-A-Wish has a need for something you make. For example, MKF Props made a Star Wars Mandalorian bucket (helmet) and donated it to make a kid’s wish come true. You can always see if your local children’s hospital or Make-A-Wish chapter would be interested in your assistance. Keep in mind that organizations like this are very picky about who they involve due to the sensitive nature of who they serve. You may have to submit for a background check before you can fully work with them. You may also be asked to not wear your mask on the hospital property. It never hurts to ask and find out how to be involved!   Some of my friend’s favorite, or proudest CAUSEplay moments, involve a terminally ill child. Though it tugs at their heart strings they have never regretting giving up an afternoon to put a smile on that kid’s face.

Due to things in my life and having to make real adult life a priority, starting my own costume charity organization has been very slow going. But, I still want to give back to my community while I figure this out. Because of this desire I have decided to start selling prints with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to a charity. I plan to change who benefits from this every three months, once I get it up and going. You can do something like this or donate a portion of your profits from prop making. Another option is donating costumes or services to an organization to auction of as a fundraising effort.

Get creative! There is so much more you can do! Go to a library and see if you can read a story to kids in your costume or help teach them to read. There are nonprofits that focus on education of preschool kids that may also be interested in something like this. You can even get involved as you!

Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories! If sending info on an individual person please let them know you have done so, to reduce the creep factor of a stranger contacting them for a potential interview.

CAUSEplay: Cosplay for a Cause, True Heroes of Cosplay

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Most people have heard of cosplay but fewer have heard or understand CAUSEplay. If you are reading this chances are you know what cosplay is. In case you don’t, this is short for costume play and involves wearing a costume while acting like that character. More frequently it is just dressing as a character or in an inspired fashion. With the recent increase in popularity of geek culture this hobby has increased with it. CAUSEplay is a break off of cosplay where people use costumes for charity. This is also gaining popularity as costume clubs and 501c3 nonprofit organizations pop up all over the world. Even individual CAUSEplayers are even making a difference in their immediate communities.

Star Wars Costume Clubs like Rebel Legion and 501st Legion are some of the oldest organizations around involved in CAUSEplay, in fact they were doing it long before this phrase caught on. Just so you understand the structure of these groups these are international clubs divided regionally into garrisons for ease of management and accountability, this is very important because they represent Lucas Films. This also makes the level of their costume quality and expectations higher than a local group might have. If you are new to costuming and interested in joining one of these clubs make sure you review the costume requirements before making your costume to save yourself time and money. Each club has a strong charity aspect to it doing a variety of good for their communities. You can search for your local chapter’s Facebook page to see what they are doing.

Though the Star Wars clubs are among the oldest costume organizations there has been an influx in comic book focused groups such as Arizona Avengers and Comic Book Character for Causes, a 501c3 organization in Washington State. Some groups even accept Disney Princesses, movie characters, and video game characters like H.E.R.O.I.C., Inc., a 501c3 organization in Utah. But the groups do not stop here. The Resident Evil games and movies also have chapters, or Hives as they call them, that do the same type of charity work. There are organizations dedicated to Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, mermaids, pirates, and the list can go on and on. You think of a costume and chances are there is a charity organization or club out there!

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Examples of fundraising include the Alpine Garrison (Utah’s 501st) raising $2,878.57 during Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 for the Peter Mayhew Foundation (petermayhewfoundation.org) to assist with medical costs for families that need assistance. At this same convention the Mandalorian Mercs’ Utah Chapter, Krayt Clan, worked with H.E.R.O.I.C., Inc. and Rogue Base (Utah’s Rebel Legion) to raise money for Make-A-Wish. I couldn’t find a total for all the groups involved in this but they did reach over $2,000 for the numbers I could collect. These same groups also fundraised during the Salt Lake City FanX 2014 convention for kids with the Utah Muscular Dystrophy Association to attend their summer camp. And during Rose City Comic Con the Cloud City Garrison (Oregon 501st) also raised money for Make-A-Wish. These are just some examples but there are many out there.

You may be wondering how they raise this money. It is simple, get your picture taken with your heroes and donate a few bucks! The 501st also does blast a trooper to raise funds. You have to have better aim than those stormtroopers after all. While raising money and awareness to a cause these dedicate individuals also bring a fun atmosphere!

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This fun atmosphere can assist in other charitable ways by bringing awareness to a cause; especially since nonprofits have limited resources for advertising and having “attractions” to bring people to their events. These types of events include local fundraising walks; after school, youth, or at risk programs; programs for children with disabilities like summer camp, festivals, or day programs; scouting activities, award ceremonies, or leadership training; library activities; toy drives, food drives or clothing drive; or anything that a nonprofit organization can think of to raise money, items, or awareness to their causes!

Recognized organizations like those listed above also have the amazing opportunity to help Make-A-Wish with requests. Seeing these kids smile and have a great time is one reason many CAUSEplayers site as to why they do this. If you are interested in working with Make-A-Wish please note that they prefer working with established and reputable groups due to the sensitive nature of what they do. It never hurts to reach out to your local Make-A-Wish and see if there is something you can do though!

You don’t have to be a big group to make a difference though. The Northwest Mutant Academy Costume Club of Washington is a small group of friends who does a lot of the same things listed above. They do it for their love of costumes and for the fun of it. One thing this group does on their own is a food drive to help out local people but they are always open considering an event if they are approached.

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You don’t have to be part of a group to CAUSEplay or make a difference in your community. Individuals can make a difference to. Last Christmas a CAUSEplayer reached out to the cosplay community to send Christmas cards to a terminally ill man with a disability because he loved super heroes. The response was over whelming as people from everywhere sent cards, pictures, and gift to this man. Though a brief moment in his life it brought him joy and showed the world how amazing the cosplay community can be. And this showed how something very simple can make a huge difference.

If you want to make a difference in your community you can! Create your own food or toy drive with the holiday season just around the corner. Homeless shelters and foster organizations are always in need of clothing, shoes, socks, coats, ext. and can use help in collecting these. Talk to your local library if they have any events you can help out with. Another thing you can make arrangements with nursing homes to visit the elderly. Or make a prop to donate for a Make-A-Wish request. Many nonprofit organizations have small budgets and are already running on budgets that do not allow them meet the needs of the population they serve. If there is a cause you are passionate about simple email or call the organization to see what they need help with. You don’t have to CAUSEplay to make a difference. You can be a hero without dressing like one, after all real heroes are inside us all.

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As you can see the groups that CAUSEplay are as varied as the ways they can assist their communities. The reasons people CAUSEplay are just as varied. Some do it to see the joy in kids eyes when they see a favorite character, to know they made a difference is someone’s life even if it was for a moment, others as a reminder that there is good in the world, some to make amends for mistakes they feel they have made, and others simply for the fun of it. There is no wrong reason to CAUSEplay but if you don’t do this, or something like it, maybe you should ask yourself why?

Look around and see how you can be a real hero in your community! If you are interested in more info on this stay tuned for my next post on how you can get involved in your community.

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