Not all heroes wear capes, some dress as Disney Princesses and Clone Troopers. But cosplaying for the Causeplay Alliance Project means so much more. We spoke with Steve Rogers, Director of the Causeplay Alliance Project, who talked about what their amazing group of cosplayers is doing for their local community.
For those of us who are unfamiliar with the Causeplay Alliance Project, would you mind explaining some details about the organization?
The Causeplay Alliance Project, also known as CAP, is a cosplay, social organization that appears at charitable events in the Houston community to help raise awareness for various causes. Our mission is to empower others in our community to be proactive and get involved with local charities, in any way, shape, or form. The ultimate goal of appearing and interacting at these events is to make a positive impact on our community. We aim to create an inclusive, creative, and most importantly, fun environment for everyone we interact with.
How did you guys get started? How long has the group been cosplaying together?
The Causeplay Alliance Project was launched in October of 2019, and since then we have had over 30 members in our group at one time. Some of us have been cosplaying longer together from previous charity organizations we were a part of, while others we have met through conventions or other fandom events in which many of us share a collective excitement for, like special Star Wars or Marvel events.
What do you enjoy the most about cosplay?
The best thing about cosplay or “causeplay” as we say, are the interactions we get to have with the people we are helping. It’s extremely rewarding to put a smile on a kid’s face or to hear them laugh and know that you’ve helped create a positive ripple in their life that may impact them in ways we may never get to see as they grow.
Cosplaying as a character is very rewarding for the cosplayer as well. For example, when I asked one of our members who cosplays as Rey from Star Wars how she felt about the character, she said “I feel an extreme sense of empowerment as Rey. She is a survivor, independent, self sufficient, self-taught, and has qualities I think every girl should appreciate and look up to.”
That’s why it’s so important we make the few minutes we have with kids as magical and wonderful as possible. It’s a creative escape from reality and reminds them of how the world could be, with everyone working together. We hope it serves as a staple for them to continue this wave of positivity later in life. They may even decide to create their own groups and give back their time to children just as we have done for them. It’s all about allowing that empowering cycle to continue.
What type of events and activities do you do for your community?
Charity events are where we are requested the most. That can include anything from holiday parties, fundraisers, or just a fun get-together planned by one of the non-profit organizations we partner with. While that’s where we spend most of our time, we are happy to appear at other events like blood drives, animal shelter adoption days, hospitals, anything like that. Honestly, we will try to appear anywhere that’s in need of a smile. And with the pandemic, we have even added personalized character messages and Zoom calls to our services.
We are also involved in out-of-cosplay volunteering events. This includes taking care of gardens for elementary schools or helping set up baskets of food for families in need during the holidays. Other events on our list for 2021 are beach clean-up days, volunteering at the Houston Food Bank, and partnering with other organizations to help feed the homeless.
Tell us about one of your favorite moments cosplaying for one of your events.
One of the greatest moments I have ever witnessed at one of our events was actually at our very first event with the Sunshine Kids, an organization we partner with that takes children out of the hospital for a day, away from treatment, and gives them a party with lots of activities. One of our members who cosplays the character Moana started to sing her most famous song “How Far I’ll Go”, about mid-way through the song a young boy came over and asked if he could sing as well. To everyone’s amazement he finished the rest of the song singing alongside Moana while we all cheered and his mother was in tears. She told us later he had never done anything like that before, but that he just felt comfortable enough with Moana being there it empowered him to take that extra step.
Why do you think it’s important for children to have superheroes?
Everyone could use a superhero figure in their life. An exemplary character who represents the best of us in both persona and morality. For children, especially though, I believe they connect with representation, they see themselves in the characters we portray, and that’s why it’s very important we continue to strive to have many characters of color so that ALL children can see themselves through their heroes.
How can other cosplayers get involved in work like this? How can they support CAP?
If you live in the Houston area and would like to join the Causeplay Alliance Project you can do so by filling out an application at this link