We all know that children who are sick, hurt, grieving or have special needs, are the true heroes of the world. But what if you could make their day by helping them meet some of their own personal heroes? The Humble Heroes is a group of volunteers whose goal is to lift the spirits of these children by visiting local hospitals and grief centers while dressed as famous superheroes. The Staten Island-based organization is run through a popular local charity, the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund. “From acting out skits and coloring with kids, to a simple high five and wave, the Humble Heroes inspire those young warriors to continue facing their battles,” reads their mission statement. “It is our ultimate duty to bring smiles to such resilient kids by taking their icons and making them a reality. Because they are the REAL heroes.”
Former USMC Sergeant Kenny Restrepo, who is an Annadale dad and serves as the resident Batman for Humble Heroes, talked to Staten Island Parent about his experiences being on the team. As the name suggests, he tells us it’s been rather humbling. He’s one of the newest members but has already visited the pediatric ward of New York Presbyterian, St. Peter’s Children’s Hospital as well as Camp Good Grief at the JCC, an organization for children who have lost a loved one and a recent Carl V. Bini fundraiser for a child with a rare disease.
The costumes are all custom made by members, and Restrepo says he used his art skills to impress his way into the group. “A friend of mine, one of the founding members, was telling me about the organization and what they do, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I asked to see pictures and I told him I was very interested in becoming involved,” he said. “I started making a Batman costume, and my brother-in-law Gaspere Randazzo also wanted to volunteer, so I made him a Robin costume. The guys were very impressed by the costumes so they invited us to come to a visit — and we fit right in. It was an amazing experience and the kids looked so happy. I remember overhearing two of the kids saying ‘that’s definitely the real Batman!’ It felt so fulfilling to be able to cheer them up.”
Humble Heroes started two years ago on a whim, after a group of friends, dressed up for Halloween as Power Rangers, were asked to pose for a picture for a child in a nearby hospital by the child’s mother. The group then made the decision to visit him in person and thus Humble Heroes was born. Restrepo says they’re planning to visit a school for children with special needs soon and hope to book future dates at many other schools. “We’re open to any location where there are kids that we can help bring a smile to,” he said.