#54 "Is there a Bat Signal summoning YOU?"
If you are a Batman fan, you know that when a resident of Gotham City is in trouble, the bat signal flashes to summon Batman. This signal lets Batman know help is needed and he runs in to save the day. Can you imagine if it was this easy for someone in need to reach out for help? They could send a signal out and everyday heroes could come to the rescue.
Blog #54 is about someone who can actually be summoned with a bat signal - or at least an email. His name is Chris Van Dorn and he’s the founder of the nonprofit Batman4Paws (https://batman4paws.org/). Check out his story!
Chris grew up with an infinite love for animals. He grew up spending hours at the farm where his sister rode horses, and he developed a connection with those animals. Chris’s childhood self also loved superheroes. From superman to batman to spiderman, he admired the way they helped others. After he graduated high school, Chris went to study sociology because he believed understanding society was important to changing it for the better. He wanted to have an impact on society, like the superheroes he admired. Although he did not know it at the time, he would be making an impact quicker than he imagined.
While in college, he decided to get his private pilot license. Around the same time, Chris’s father was looking into adopting a dog. His father fell in love with a tri-colored Australian Shepherd with big paws named Mr. Boots who had been found wandering the woods in Alabama covered in fleas and taken to a shelter. As Chris watched his father's puppy adoption story unfold, his life was changed. He learned that a dog liberator and a pilot named Jeff had flown to rescue the puppy, brought it to safety and transported it into its forever home.
It did not take long for Chris to put it all together – animals, helping others, flying - his childhood self was flipping out. It was time for Chris to be one of those superheroes he had admired growing up and Batman4Paws was created.
Distance can create great challenges for families who want to adopt pets, often making the adoption unlikely to happen. However, no kill shelters can summon Batman4Paws and Chris can help transport the animals across the country. When Chris picks up an animal, he is always dressed as Batman. He had learned from Batman that it didn’t matter who he was underneath, it’s what he did that defined him. He makes families, puppies, and cats dreams come true, all while being the superhero of his childhood dreams. Chris’ animal rescuing superhero feats have gone viral on social media multiple times. He’s helped hundreds of animals while truly embracing his inner Batman.
So, what can we learn from Chris? The bat signal flashes in Gotham City when someone needs help and Batman runs in and saves the day. Animal shelters send a bat signal (phone or email) to Chris when an animal needs help. Just like these superheroes, we can start to search for the bat signals flashing at us. Maybe it’s the frown on your classmates' faces every day, the words the man experiencing homelessness has written on that sign, the litter on the ground or the local nonprofits Facebook post asking for volunteers. At the beginning of this blog, I wanted you to imagine how easy it could be to help others if we could all simply use the bat signal. Chris opened my eyes to the fact that it really is that easy. Bat signals for help are everywhere - we just need to start answering them.
In the words of Batman, it doesn’t matter who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you. Our actions have the power to make us all superheroes. Just like Chris, you can run in to save someone's day...even with a mask on!