Youth in Heroes R Forever perform a skit as part of their activities. Photo provided
By Sonya R. Lynch
The Cincinnati Herald
Kathy Fields is not an obvious hero upon first glance. As she sits beaming proudly on a bright Sunday afternoon, her cape is not gently blowing in the breeze, but the Heroes R Forever logo emblazoned on her right shoulder speaks for her passion and character.
It has been only a year and a few months since Fields took a literal leap of faith and launched the non-profit organization Heroes R Forever, after proposing the idea to Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Cincinnati Recreation Director John Betts.
“The community needed something of uplifting, and I know there are a lot of hurting young people in the world,” Fields said. “Service is a joy. Heroes is designed to be mobile and able go to the communities to help them.”
Fields said she knew there was a calling in her life that would include leadership and building a lasting and continued legacy. Citing her mother as inspiration, Fields recalled as a child that she would watch from the back of her mother’s Mercury as she took home cooked meals to the elderly in the neighborhood. Her mother also consistently attained and provided resources to help teenage mothers raise their children. She said it was at her mother’s funeral that she truly learned of her calling and the impact her mother had as attendees gathered to share statements and memories.
Though the path to Heroes was wrought with debilitating illness and personal challenges including leaving a high paying job with steady income, Fields remained firm in her spiritual beliefs and destiny. “Somehow I’m shown what to do and where the Heroes team should be. I have no fear or trepidation,’’ she said.
Her previous experience in paralegal work, networking, customer service and other nonprofit organizations has also proven to be an asset as well. The staff at Heroes is a direct reflection of Fields with an added dose of empathy and passion. “Every person on the staff could easily continue this legacy,’’ she said.
Comprised of volunteers, Fields met in various environments, they share diversity in backgrounds, careers and races, which includes a veteran and a young operations member from Nigeria. Lathel Bryant Cincinnati Recreation Commission assistant director, alongside Daniel Betts, the commission director, have been very instrumental in collaborating with Fields, she said.
Along with four leadership teams, Heroes has garnered a modernized door-to-door approach by networking on the streets and in different organizations within the community to spread word of their goodwill.
Heroes R Forever is targeted to assist the youth in Greater Cincinnati by teaching financial literacy, career building, leaderships skills and techniques to prevent and deal with and bullying.
“We are just a mixture of everything that a child would need to grow, including adults. It works with youth in K-12 grades and beyond. We teach limitless, so why should we limit ourselves?” she said.
Teens 14 and older are provided with professional development by being taught to create resumes, interview skills via skit, and are connected with interested employers or given job referrals.
Heroes also offers book “tastings,” where books are provided from different genres in a formal setting and surveys are conducted about what was read. In some instances, another child known as a “helpmate” will assist with reading the book to encourage reading on their grade level.
While feeding their souls with knowledge, Heroes keeps health and fitness in the forefront by enlisting the assistance from Fields, local chefs, donors such as Domino’s pizza and personal trainers.
She says she makes sure the youth in the program are adequately fed. “You cannot teach a hungry child,’’ she added.
As with any entrepreneurial venture, Fields continues to face the challenges of limited resources. Money, vans and transportation are needed, and she is applying for grants, as well as hosting fundraisers. Fields cites God’s grace as the extra push needed in times of adversity.
She said she would eventually like to expand Heroes R Forever globally. “We have people all over, including in Ghana, Georgia and Detroit eager to learn about Heroes and assist,’’ she said.
In the upcoming months, Heroes will shoot a music video featuring youth involved in the organization wearing hero capes designed by Artswave and Christian Hip Hop artists. “The video will be uplifting, so that the youth see the answer to life can be found in God and not in suicide,’’ she said.
Volunteers interested in joining the cape-less crusade may contact Heroes R Forever may contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donate and/or learn more about HEROES and upcoming events at www.heroesrforever.org or via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.