On February 20th, Just For The Smiles and Off Shoot Comics teamed up to bring Off Shoot's "Anyone Can Be A Hero" event to the foster kids at Vista Del Mar. This time, we had a smaller amount of kids in order for Vista Del Mar to test out this pilot program that we hope they will adopt into their operations. Off Shoot Comics had four of their talented artists and writers and split the kids up in two groups to see how different each group was with their creativity and imagination. One thing that we did different this time is get more of the kids' reactions and their feelings about the program that we're bringing to them. Just For The Smiles and Off Shoot Comics wants to make sure that this program is having an everlasting impact on these kids whose lives have been anything but a fairy tale.
Here is one quote from one of the girls at the event. Her name is "Jazzy" and she has been in the foster care system for over three years and just recently celebrated her 15th birthday. She informed us that her main escape from reality is through her love and passion for animation and drawing. This is what she had to say about the "Anyone Can Be A Hero" program:
"My parents never gave me stuff to draw or write anything that was creative. With your event, I was able to really explore my imagination to a point I haven’t thought of before. The best part was having the artists and volunteers encourage me and tell me how amazing my drawings were. They never let me give up and they never let me think that I wasn’t good enough. These are the words I’ve been wanting to be told to me my entire life: ‘You are so incredibly talented and amazing, don’t ever let anybody tell you different’ and every single one of them told me that. For the first, in a long time, I shed a tear of happiness and not for sadness or pain. I can’t wait for them to come back so I could continue my story. “
It's reactions like this that make all the hard work we put into this program all worth it.