For The Ashland Beacon
The Paramount Arts Center kicked off its Fall 2019 season this past Saturday – Superhero Style! Donning capes and masks, hundreds of local children gathered at the Paramount to meet their favorite comic book characters and watch LEGO Batman on the big screen. “The event was a huge success,” Paramount Arts Center Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator, David Miller, explained. “It’s more than just their enduring appeal. Children relate to superheroes on a very personal level.”
The Paramount partnered with West Virginia based, Heroes 4 Higher for the first-ever event. Owned by former military firefighter John Buckland, the foundation focuses on bringing hope and healing to families and communities in crisis. Dressed as Batman, Buckland and his friends Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and Captain America took to the Paramount stage to teach H4H’s Four Principles of Hope: 1. Never Give Up, 2. Always Do the Right Thing, 3. Help Other People, 4. Never Be a Bully.
“We’re here to represent superheroes with real stories,” Buckland said. Each of the four characters recounted their own personal struggles with illness, attempted suicide, addiction and child abuse. The message was powerful even for the youngest audience members. Hayden Thomas, 4, rested his head on Marty Thomas-Foley’s shoulder and said, “I’m grateful for you, Nana.” Though Thomas-Foley admits that she is Hayden’s aunt and not his grandmother, the love that they share is undeniable. To one little boy, she is a superhero! So many others look for comfort, hope and protection in the fictional characters that they see on the movie screen. The event was an opportunity to encourage them to find superheroes all around them – even inside of themselves.