The Superhero Project – Founder, Lisa Kollins
The Superhero Project recognises and celebrates the tremendous gifts and unique abilities that each child brings to the world, guided by our four core values: imagination, representation, inclusion and joy.
– Lisa Kollins
Inspired by my nine years as a counsellor at Camp Sunrise, which was the only camp in Ohio for youth impacted by HIV/AIDS, I launched The Superhero Project in 2017 to bring joy to kids & teens with serious illnesses and special needs. My role is connecting people – interviewing kids about what’s most important to them and how they want to make the world a better place, collaborating with artists who bring their superhero alter egos to life, wrangling printers and postage to deliver posters, and sharing our story near and far. My favourite part – aside from seeing the smiles of kids holding their superhero posters – is meeting families and artists from around the world. Creating global connections while spreading love and joy is a privilege.
We had the opportunity to interview Lisa for our book ‘Interdisciplinary Thinking for Schools: Ethical Dilemmas MYP 4 &5’ (Harbord & Khan, 2020):
Origin stories are an important part of the Superhero’s journey and transformation. How does writing stories and creating characters have the power to help us imagine a different future for ourselves and for our world?
The most important questions during our interviews are what the youth would stand for, who they would fight for and how they would make the world a better place as superheroes.
Some know right away – there’s a particular cause they want to champion, like bullying or gun violence or protecting the environment. For other families, we have a list of ideas – both big ideas (like justice, hope, faith, courage and joy) and specific issues (challenges like homelessness, hunger, refugees and violence). We ask them to imagine themselves as superheroes. We remind them that no matter who you are, how old you are, or what abilities you have, you can make the world around you a better place. What’s really remarkable is that, while some kids say they will fight for a cure for cancer or other illness, they most often are thinking about others – not themselves. No matter what they’re facing, they are inspired to think about how they can help repair the world for other families. That’s inspiring to us too!