Superheroes. Superheroes inspire and encourage; they lift spirits; they are a force for good; and they never, never give up. Monday, October 15, 2018 became Superhero Day at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh to support and encourage children battling serious illnesses, and to recognize them as the superheroes that they truly are.
Through the Community Arts Resource Exchange program (CARE) at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Design Studio students joined forces with Superheroes Believe in Miracles to create a new logo for the nonprofit and to hold a superhero photoshoot featuring 12 kids battling serious illnesses. Faculty, staff and students all came together to support the precious, young visitors and their families. Many of them wore superhero t-shirts or costumes, while others simply made time to stop by, smile and say hello to the children and their families. Campus staff transformed a classroom into a welcoming waiting area where the children and their siblings colored, decorated flashlights with superhero stickers, played videogames on Xbox One X, enjoyed snacks, and received welcome bags with stuffed dinosaurs and their superhero outfits. The children suited up to prepare for their superhero photoshoot.
Jameek Booth ( Bachelor of Science in Digital Photography student ) took photographs of each child dressed as a superhero in the campus photo studio. Faculty member and Design Studio instructor, Shawn O'Mara, along with his student Hayden Whiting ( Bachelor of Science in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production ) and Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design students Seth Povich, Maura Bruce-Parkes, Caleigh Poorman, Wade Wynn and Kaelyn Miragliotta filled various roles in producing the photoshoot. Hayden filmed both the shoot and interviews he had held with the children and their families. The footage will be used to create a video for the nonprofit. The photographs will be used to create a 2019 calendar and a superhero poster for each child. Calendars will be sold to raise funds to support the nonprofit and the kids they serve. The calendars should be available for purchase early December 2018 from the organization's Facebook page or website. The new logo, posters and video are slated to be unveiled around the same time.
Superheroes Believe in Miracles is a local nonprofit that provides birthday gifts to kids (ages 0 - 19) that are battling serious, chronic or mental illness. The purpose: to bring smiles to children's faces. Each gift includes a superhero mask and a personalized card based on the child's interests and favorite color. According to the organization's website, Superheroes Believe in Miracles has delivered over 8,000 gifts to children with illnesses across the United States since their inception in 2013.
Amy Faltot, founder of the charity, says that her children are healthy, but her son's premature birth, and the difficulties that ensued, prompted the creation of Superheroes Believe in Miracles. Amy spent four difficult, lonely months in the hospital not knowing if her son would live. She avoided reaching out to other people for support because she did not want to burden them with her problems. Through this experience, Amy thought about families with children who have illnesses. She felt that a small gift could bring a smile to the child's and family members' faces, and that could make a difference. Amy was also in awe of the strength of these children. The combination of these realizations inspired her to create Superheroes Believe in Miracles, a registered 501c3. Amy truly believes that these children are the real superheroes.
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