With great power comes a unique sense of fashion.
As far as brand name recognition goes, Alliance of Heroic Hearts may not enjoy the stark simplicity of “The Avengers” or even the abbreviated punch of the JLA (that’s Justice League of America, for newcomers) but the intent is more or less the same.
The colorful costumes they wear — to children’s hospitals, birthday parties, libraries — are about making a statement, a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
Not everybody’s life is perfect. Not every kid comes from a perfect background. Sometimes we just need a role model to look up to.
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In this case, the prescription is simple: be good, be helpful and, if at all possible, be super.
“Not everybody’s life is perfect. Not every kid comes from a perfect background. Sometimes we just need a role model to look up to,” Maya Shenoy, AHH president, said.
Shenoy, a senior at Penn State, was looking to meet that demand with a steady supply of inspiration. The year was 2015 and superheroes were enjoying a mammoth surge in pop culture, thanks to a string of successful movies from companies on both sides of the great comic book divide.
More than two years later the same pretty much holds true, as evidenced by the alliance’s roster of 20 members. Each has based his or her costume on a classic fictional character drawn from any number of fantastical sources.
Shenoy is Supergirl, a distant (she’s from another planet) cousin to Superman and the bane of evil. Her costume, cape and all, was made-to-order by a tailor in Australia.
“She kind of stands for justice and strength,” Shenoy said.
It’s the meaning behind the characters, not their tailoring, that’s important here. Sure, the bright colors and familiar insignias may help get kids’ attention, but Shenoy is hoping to leverage that into a life lesson or two.
They’re going to be the future of the world so it’s very motivating.
“How can you be a hero? You can share your art supplies at school,” Shenoy said.
Karen Medina helped Shenoy launch AHH while she was still a student at Penn State.
Now living in Maryland, Medina is looking into launching a local chapter of the group that can visit neighboring children’s hospitals.
“Some of these kids still want to be superheroes when they grow up,” Medina said.
Super or not, Medina recognizes the value of getting kids excited about good deeds.
“They’re going to be the future of the world so it’s very motivating,” Medina said.