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Shazam! Folks Can Transform Into a Hero for Foster Kids

The movie "Shazam!" - based on the long-time D.C. Comics hero Captain Marvel - is helping build awareness about the need for foster families. (WhizComicsNo22/C.C. Beck/Wikimedia)
The movie "Shazam!" - based on the long-time D.C. Comics hero Captain Marvel - is helping build awareness about the need for foster families. (WhizComicsNo22/C.C. Beck/Wikimedia)
April 22, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A popular movie about an unlikely superhero is opening the curtain on the plight of children in need of foster care. "Shazam!" is about a 14-year-old boy in foster care who discovers he has superhero powers, which he must learn to master to fight evil forces.

While following the filming of the movie, Amanda Ennis said she became inspired by the optimism and heart of the story. Ennis said she created BeAHERO4Kids.org to connect children's services organizations and theaters screening the film to help recruit new foster parents.

"I am a comic-book movie fan, of all things. It was all sort of a rather chance thing,” Ennis said. “I didn't know a whole lot about our foster-care and adoption system before, but along the way I learned quite a bit and it seems to me like the only reason people aren't up in arms about it is they don't know how bad the problem really is."

Due to a rise in substance in the state, many more children are entering the child welfare system in West Virginia. In 2007 there were about 4,000 foster children in the state, now there are about 7,000. And child advocates say there is a desperate need for more foster families.

The weekend "Shazam!" opened, foster family recruitment events were held at theaters in five states. Ennis added that even some second-run theaters are getting involved, including the Hayesville Opera House in Ohio - which is hosting an information event this Friday, April 26.

"There's going to be a special showing of the film for 200 foster kids and their guardians and families that weekend as well,” Ennis said. “So that's kind of exciting. When I heard the news about that, I thought, 'Yep, this was all worth it.'"

Advocates stress becoming a foster parent isn't easy, but there are resources and support to help.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV