• Gianna

#37 "The Helpers are Here"

Life can be really scary.

Sometimes we are handed situations that make us feel powerless.

Mr. Rogers says that when he was a boy and would see scary things, his mother would tell him to look for the helpers. There are always helpers. When you see helpers, you may still be scared, but you will also feel hopeful.

The story for Grounds of Change interview #37 is about one of those helpers. His name is Matt Meiers and he founded the nonprofit, So Many Angels. ( Matt and his team take photos of children battling cancer and transform them into whatever or whoever they want to be when they grow up.

In usual Grounds of Change style, let's begin when Matt was a high schooler. He didn't really know who he was in high school. He had no idea what he wanted to do for the rest of life. That feeling did not stop on graduation day. For years, Matt did not know his purpose. But then something clicked...actually a couple things clicked - His life and a camera.  He started getting into photography, and it led him to taking photos at a Make a Wish event in Delaware. A girl who spoke at the event talked about how she grew up in Miami beach, and her wish was to go snow skiing. At the end of her speech, she looked at the audience and said, “for a week I was not sick.”

It was that last sentence that stuck with him and caused him to ask himself, “How could I use my camera to make kids feel like they are not sick even if it was just for fifteen or twenty minutes?”

And then he became one of those helpers. When children are diagnosed with cancer, it can make them and their families feel powerless. Matt started setting up photoshoots with children battling this disease. He would have them dress up as who they wanted to be when they grew up, and then he would make them into movie posters. The movie poster serves as another symbol of hope. (check out the examples on his website!

It helped Maddie transform herself from the girl with leukemia to a strong ballerina. It helped Kevin change from the boy with sarcoma into Batman saving a city. From hippies, to superheroes, to ballerinas, these kids and their families were able to see the real potential they had inside them. They could see how strong and capable they are by looking at the photos, and it helped make that cancer cell feel a little less frightening.

It is really scary for a child to battle cancer. Matt is one helper that children can look for to feel hopeful.

So, what can we learn from Matt?We can realize that Matt is not the only helper out there. There are people giving an extra hand everywhere we go. When a storm comes, there are givers who are holding umbrellas. The more you look for this positivity, the more you will find. Instead of googling some frightening current events, check out a good news Instagram account. (I’ve linked some below) Hope is real and hope is coming from helpers everywhere.

Maybe right now, life seems really scary. However, the light will outshine the dark. The good will beat the bad. There are people like Matt out there. Keep staying positive, grounds of changers!

Positive Instagram accounts-

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