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

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: 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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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


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.

Heroes Behind the Masks: Superhero Smiles Initiative

This weeks feature is about a couple in Florida who CAUSEplays together! From conversations I have had between it being only two people of the Superhero Smile Initiative they keep pretty busy. Especially around the holiday season. They were kind enough to take some time out of their busy lives to be featured in this weeks blog! Please enjoy this feature of the Heroes Behind the Masks-Mala

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Name: Samantha and Steve Lustinia AKA  Superhero Smiles Initiative

Location: Central Florida

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
We wanted to give back to our community in a way that brought smiles.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The joy and smiles we see.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
A Christmas party at the Howard Phillips Center for Families

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Samantha- Wonder Woman-because she is a strong female role model.
Steve- Captain America- because he is an iconic good guy male role model.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Samantha- recently having a cancer patient spend nearly her entire evening with me.
Steve- a young special needs boy spent an afternoon with Captain America, looking for bad guys.

What is your favorite cause to support? Childhood Cancer

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause? Danced with the kids in full costume.

Who inspires you? Lynda Carter

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Get the word out there that you do this as a gift, no fees involved.
Some people are under the mistaken belief that you will charge them for an appearance.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up? We just finished the holiday season, which was non-stop for 3 months straight.  We are currently taking a break until spring.  We will have a children’s homelessness event in March.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer? Either- it doesn’t define who we are as people

What was your first costume/cosplay? Wonder Woman and Captain America

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
Samantha- I work for a not for profit medical clinic
Steve- Product Specialist at Lowe’s

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
Samantha- working with kids.  I love to see them learning.

Tell us something random about yourself:
Samantha- I love to crochet!
Steve- I am an art graduate

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars

Marvel or DC: Marvel

Favorite Comic Series:
Samantha – Wonder Woman and Justice League.
Steve- Currently Guardians of the Galaxy

Favorite Comic Character: Wonder Woman and Captain America

Favorite Book: too many to list

Favorite Video Game: We play old school Dreamcast games

Favorite Convention:  Used to be Megacon but its gotten out of hand.  We really enjoy the charity work more.

Facebook: Superhero Smiles Initiative

Twitter: superherosmiles


Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!