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Conversations with Jay Holliday

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Holliday.

Hi Jay, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Kids Can Cosplay started off in 2013 with my own little kids dressing up in costume and came up with the idea of using their cosplay to help kids less fortunate. We reached out to a few friends in the cosplay community to help visit children at a local hospital. We had characters like superheroes and princesses and we entertained the kids with fun activities and provided gifts such as toys and comics. It was so rewarding for the cosplayers able to use their characters to help kids in need we started to get more cosplayers interested in helping, and we started helping more and more kids. We now have over 200 volunteers that help us at our events. We got so busy with requests to partner at events and with donations coming in, we finally became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization as of March 2020! We now cover counties such as Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. Working with more hospitals, shelters, churches, cities, and military, helping kids that may be physically or mentally disabled, those with special needs, emotional support and families that need financial assistance. Not only do children get to meet their favorite superhero or princesses or any character, but we also teach and help them learn about the healthy aspect of cosplay and how they can be the superhero they want to be.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Before we became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it was a bit difficult in meeting some of the needs for the children. With no proper donations coming in, we were blessed enough to get by with donations that individuals gave out of their own hearts to help. Not that we are an official organization, we encounter new and challenging roads that help us grow. When the pandemic hit, we couldn’t have our characters visit anyone. So we switched gears and started to virtual visitations where kids at home or in the hospital were still able to meet their favorite character virtually. This opportunity grew exponentially that we can now service any family in anywhere in the world that wants to virtually meet a character. It also opened doors that we now have cosplayers volunteer with us from different states that focus on doing virtual visits. a great challenge to have and a wonderful program we will continue to have.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am what you call tri-vocational. I have a 9-5 job as an e-commerce manager, managing a company’s website in the City of Industry, CA. I’m also a co-pastor of a non-denominational church in Irvine, CA. I am also the president of Kids Can Cosplay with events that take me all over Sothern California. Where do I find the time? Each vocation is a passion of mine. I enjoy all I do. While Kids Can Cosplay maybe my “baby”, I could not have done it with all the support of my family and the cosplay community and those that joined our group to help us make a difference. I may have a passion to help others, but it’s the help I get from others that makes me push on even more. The moral support and amazing minds that help us grow and make a big difference in all our communities is what I’m proudest of the most. I could do none of this on my own and it shows in our structure that it takes all of us to make a difference.

How do you define success?
In our field of helping children, success is shown on the child’s faces when they light up with joy seeing their favorite character, whether it be Spider-Man or Queen Elsa or even Darth Vader! Success is when a child holds their hand or talks with them with interest. Success is when a child is so engaged with a character they don’t want to leave. Success is when a child receives a gift with excitement. Success is knowing that at the end of the day, you helped a child in need and made a difference in their lives. Because that’s what it’s all about it. That’s our goal. And when you have amazing volunteers like we do at Kids Can Cosplay it’s our mission to strive for that kind of success.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Studio 626 Chief Geek Photography Adam Roberson Photography

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