Tri-State Superheroes is a nonprofit group of professional cosplayers who make appearances at children’s charity events in the tri-state region. Available for hospital visits, charity fundraisers, school, library, and children’s events, the Tri-State Superheroes bring smiles, joy, hope, and positivity to children.
As a fully volunteer-run organization, they never charge for their services. They love helping children and the communities in which they live. Their goal is to support the organizations and foundations that foster, care, and share a commitment to children of all ages.
In general, superheroes represent goodness, honesty, courage, and justice. To sick children, they symbolize bravery and hope.
I personally can attest to the gratification of volunteering. How do I know? I’m Batman.
No, I don’t have Bruce Wayne’s fortune or the real Batman’s cool car, but I don’t mind donning a Batman suit if it means bringing comfort to children in need. It’s worth the spandex to see those smiles!
And I’m not alone in my “crime fighting.” I have a wonderful team of superheroes who genuinely care.
Amanda Yvonne Devine has a passion for cosplay and caregiving. Currently a certified nursing assistant, she is also a pre-nursing student at Columbia Greene Community College. Amanda’s inspiration to join Tri-State Superheroes came from her own personal experiences as a child (at 6, she was diagnosed with a seizure disorder—and spent significant time in the hospital as a patient). She now aims to bring joy to children also facing chronic illness. Amanda currently cosplays primarily as Wonder Woman, but also has Spider- gwen, Lady Thor, and other costumes in her repertoire. When in civilian clothes, she is our social media administrator.
Frank Gillen—our resident Spiderman—has been volunteering since 2012. His first event was for Free Comic Book Day. Not only did he discover how much he enjoyed the experience, but he also found an unexpected confidence. In Frank’s words, “It sort of blew my mind that I could make a difference.”
Chris Davila is our Deadpool, and Hannah Marie Lawrence now cosplays as our part-time Wonder Woman (in the near future, Hannah will also be featured as Captain Marvel and Cinderella).
In comic books, superheroes need behind-the-scenes help. For example, Batman has his loyal butler, Alfred. In real life, we need help, too. I am fortunate to have my wife, Christina, who assists with costuming, photography, and a lot of the administrative work of Tri-State Superheroes—and our friend Shain Larsen is a great director of events.
People often ask me how and why I started Tri-State Superheroes. The “why” is easy: It felt right to give hope, love, and courage to sick children. The “how” is a longer answer.
In August 2012, I visited Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med. I was not dressed as Batman, but rather was a working magician. World-renowned illusionist Criss Angel sponsored my visit to the hospital. He donated thousands of dollars in magic kits and gifts for children there. I was at the Children’s Hospital for hours, performing at bedsides for children who were too ill to leave their rooms. One little girl who was playing with her magic kit said to me, “This wand doesn’t work. I’m still sick.”
It was heartbreaking. But it was at that moment that I committed to making other children’s dreams come true—with a team of superheroes. Thus the birth of Tri-State Superheroes.
It has been an absolute joy collaborating with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Children’s Hospital in Albany, St. Catherine’s Center for Children, and others.
What we’ve found is that the providers, families, and caregivers who work tirelessly to care for these great kids…they are the real superheroes. And it is the children themselves who demonstrate resilience and bravery.
Me? I’m just a big kid in a costume trying to make other kids smile.
ALL THE DETAILS
PO Box 22
East Arlington, VT 05252