Cosplay volunteers were out in full force, this 18th, at Steele Indian School Park for the First Annual Put on the Cape Fun Run. The event was sold out by the day of the race, having raised $5,000 for children who have been separated from their abusers. The South West Family Advocacy Center and many like it; provide food, shelter, and a safe space for children in need. Over 400 attendants gathered at the starting line as the Flash lead the race with a second long mile followed shortly by Tony Stark daring runners to beat him in the first lap if they wanted to win his sunglasses. Participants who completed the race earned their very own badge of honor from Captain America. The event almost seemed like it had been ripped out of the comic books.
For years, Put on the Cape has hosted private events for child survivors, assisting with the Special Olympics and visiting sick children in hospitals across the valley. This group has partnered with Heroes United, and is over 120 heroes strong, they have been helping children for over four years. The heroes will also be appearing at this year’s Phoenix Fan Fusion to gather awareness and volunteers for their upcoming Super Hero September Spectacular. Cosplay volunteers showcase Marvel, DC, and Disney characters, proving anyone can be a hero to a child in need.
We were able to get an exclusive interview with the man behind the mask, Sean Reavie; a child crimes detective and founder of Put on the Cape. If you want to help their mission, please visit Putonthecape.com or follow them on Facebook.
Worldismyne (W): We’ve done a little bit of coverage with you guys, way in the beginning, before this year. So, just to refresh everybody; if you could introduce yourself to our audience, that would be awesome.
Sean Reavie (S): I am Sean Reavie, I am the president and founder of Put on the Cape: A Foundation for Hope. This spawned from a series of super hero events called Super Hero September. That was started five years ago on a whim to bring more items into the family advocacy center where I work as a detective. And I decided to use super hero mythology to empower little kids. We give them their favorite action figure and T-shirt, and then we start raising so much money and got so many donations the center couldn’t hold it all. So I’ve formed my own foundation and now we raise money for all centers in the valley.
W: Wonderful. So if you could just clarify what exactly the foundation does and how it helps the children.
S: What we do is we ask for in-kind donations of super hero action figures, T-shirts, Barbie dolls, diapers, food, clothing to present to the advocacy centers. Or cash. We hold events like this and the proceeds from this event all went to the South West Valley Advocacy Center. We gave them a check for $5,000 and that was- That will really help a lot of kids. It really will. So that’s what we do. Our mission is to uplift, empower, and educate both the community and the little kids. They don’t have to let that moment, that horrible moment define who they are.
W: The fantasy of costumed heroes helping people has been around for decades. What inspired you to make it a reality?
S: I was interviewing a little boy, and he was a victim of abuse. I had no other evidence to support his disclosure… And he wasn’t disclosing anything. If he didn’t say anything, I wouldn’t have a case. So just out of left field I said “Who’s your favorite superhero?” and it changed him completely. He just bolted up in his chair and talked about Iron Man and Avengers for 20 minutes. And then we got into why he was there and he told me everything that happened to him and it lead to a conviction.
S: So I decided if it works for him, I’m going to see if I can do that for every child that comes here. And that’s what started the whole Super Hero September program.
W: Okay, so, I’m familiar with Super Hero September and raising funds for those kiddos. Could you tell me more about this specific event?
S: This event is the first event of the new foundation. Put on the Cape: A Foundation for Hope, it’s our first public event. We wanted to make a big splash. Wanted to impact the community and this has a lot of eyeballs on it. We’re live streamed, the news is here and we want people to know who we are. Now people do. Plus people are happy, having fun; because you can’t just gather 400 people and say “I’m going to talk to you about physical and sexual abuse to little kids”. But what you can say is dress like a super hero and run; and they’re going to do it. And their fee to join this race is going straight to the advocacy center. So that’s how we marry those two topics together and now people want to know more and talk about it.
W: What challenges have you faced getting the program off the ground?
S: Many… Many, charity is hard work. There’s a lot of people who don’t like the spotlight taken from them. They don’t like you doing things on your own and they would rather have the money for things they want to do and not what I want it for. So that’s why I started my own foundation so the money will go exactly where I want it to and not to what the benefactor wants it to. And also struggles of the first few years; no one came to events. I mean literally nobody. And we decided, “oh that didn’t work, let’s try something else”. By last year every event worked, we raised over 40,000 dollars. We’ve already raised 100,000 dollars for the advocacy center. This is just the new beginning and it’s going to be fabulous.
W: Any future events we should be keeping our eyes out for?
S: Our Fifth Annual Super Hero Spectacular! Starting August 31st, and then September 7th is our main event. And then every Saturday in September is another event, culminating on September 28th at the Legacy Golf Course for our very first Super Hero Scramble Gold Tournament. And we’re also simultaneously on September 7th doing 3 events in Michigan, for three separate advocacy centers. Our goal is to raise 50,000 dollars.
W: So you’re starting to spread out to other states now?
S: I have. I’m from Michigan, so I wanted to bring this there.
W: I’m absolutely. As a pediatric nurse, I mean, this is fantastic.
S: Thank you.
W: It is very difficult to get these kids to open up, especially when sometimes they’re afraid their abuser is going to comeback or find out what they did. So to give them adults they can look up to is fantastic.
W: I saw a huge group of runners called Danny’s Destroyers, who are they?
S: Danny is a survivor. His mom contacted me and asked if she could get a team together to run to support him. And we connected: emailed, emailed, emailed constantly and I wanted Danny to start the race. I wanted to recognize who they were, their mission, because she brought a lot of people here. And she told me this helped her, because of what happened to Danny; that it gave her some purpose and she’s going to be a permanent volunteer for us now.