Today marks the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th). My third and final article celebrating Hispanic Culture features Evelyn Santiago. Evelyn is a coordinator for the Heroes Alliance, a nationwide non-profit volunteer group whose mission is to bring a "real life" superhero experience to medically fragile and terminally ill children. She also serves as a Council Woman for the Heroes Alliance. This beautiful and talented woman took some time to talk to the Confessions of a Cosplay Girl Blog about giving back to the community, the difference between cosplay and charity work and her message for other Hispanics in the geek community.
Victoria: You are a coordinator for the Heroes Alliance. What state do you represent?
Evelyn: Central Florida.
Victoria: What made you decide to get into charity work?
Evelyn: Having been hospitalized (for one reason or another) throughout my life I've learned how being constantly sick can affect a person's state of mind. Since childhood I had Wonder Woman as my source of strength whether it was from gifts received by loved ones or watching the Lynda Carter series. I use Wonder Woman to give back to my community and as a way to inspire others to fight and/or overcome whatever illness or disability they may have.
Victoria: Had you ever done any volunteer work prior to joining the Heroes Alliance?
Evelyn: Yes, I have always been active in my community, whether it was coaching a youth cheerleading squad, raising money for our Veterans or organizing events for military families.
Victoria: Which costume would you say is a favorite among children at the events you volunteer for?
Evelyn: At the moment, I only have my (Lynda Carter) Wonder Woman costume to wear at events. I have to say that most of time the moms are more impressed with it than anyone else. Lol
Victoria: Can you tell me what is the difference between charity work and cosplay?
Evelyn: Charity work for me is simply bringing joy to others in moments when they need it most. Using Wonder Woman for the greater good is extremely rewarding. Cosplay allows me to explore the different layers, versions or interpretations of Wonder Woman. I get to play her in ways that others may not have thought of while still staying true to who she is at the core.
Victoria: Do you have a favorite memory while volunteering?
Evelyn: A 6 year old little girl going through chemo had only one arm and asked if she could hug me. I said "Of course." She said that she could only hug with her left arm cause she was missing her right arm. I told her that one armed hugs were my favorite and she squeezed me with all the strength she could muster. I still tear up thinking about how precious she was with me in that moment.
Victoria: During this time of Hispanic Heritage Month what would you like to say to other Hispanics in the geek community who may be interested in giving back?
Evelyn: Find a cause (or two or three) that you're passionate about. Give of yourself and your time selflessly. Spread hope to those who need it. Go into it with an open heart and be prepare to be inspired in return. Always remember that super heroes are strong and that strength is meant to be shared.
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