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3 min Read
Published May 1, 2013

Donning the Mask: My First Day as a Superhero. Mission: Note in the Pocket

Every superhero story should begin with the dramatic pounding of boots against the night concrete and the dark flash of a cape across a moonlit sky. I had planned to start mine that way — until I sat down to write it.

There’s another story that needs to be told first. It begins with a young teacher in a Durham Kindergarten classroom, who noticed her small students were wearing the same, stained clothing more than one or two days a week. Who noticed that even as the air got chilly, the kids always seemed to “forget their coat at home.”

She told her mom, “I don’t know how they can really learn, when they’re hungry and cold and their basic needs aren’t being met.”

Susan responded, “We can’t fix everything, but we can do something.” They went to Goodwill and purchased warm winter coats for the entire class.

But the next day, many of the children came to school and tried to return the coats to the teacher. Their parents simply couldn’t believe that someone had simply given their child such a nice coat. So the teacher put a note in the pocket of each jacket, so the parents would know the warmth truly was meant as a gift.

note-in-pocketThe next year, Susan and her daughter bought coats again–for both kindergarten classes in the school. And as proof that kind acts really do ripple out and touch lives, their one action created a word of mouth ministry that impacted kids across the Triangle for eight years, as people heard about the family who gives out free clothes and coats and came to them for help.

As I changed into my make-shift costume (the real one’s coming by this weekend, so stay tuned for some epic photos!) in the bathroom of my work, I felt a little like Clark Kent in the phone booth. I rushed out of the building, ready to spend my lunch break meeting some pretty amazing folks at Note in the Pocket.

Note in the Pocket is example of Kindness Gone Viral. It started as two people just meeting the needs of their neighbors and has literally overflowed out of the house it started in, filled a church, and flooded into a full-blown non-profit organization. I couldn’t help but be inspired by the heroes all around me as I was warmly introduced by an excited woman named Dallas, who introduced me as a superhero and described my project with such pride that I wished I’d had a mask to blush behind.

I won’t lie, though. It felt amazing to be called a superhero. It’s completing a life’s dream. I. Am. A. Super. Hero. Awesome!

So it’s starting to feel real, and I’m excited to fall into the role of the Blue Beacon over the coming month and experience the adventure and weariness that comes from saving the world on a daily basis. I hope I can live up to it.

But even if I can’t live up to it — even if all I accomplish this month is a few volunteer hours — who cares? There are people like Susan and Dallas in the world, being superheroes 24-7, even if they don’t have masks and capes. This month, I’m going to live like a superhero, yes. But better than that, I’m going to meet dozens of superheroes that are already out there fighting the good fight!

I helped sort clothes and swapped inspirational stories with my fellow volunteers. I truly hope that over the course of this month, my story helps bring out all the hidden heroes here in the Triangle area. After all, Note in the Pocket began as just two people helping a classroom. Who knows where the Blue Beacon’s ripples will land?

Click on the Blue Beacon to Donate!

Please feel free to join me in volunteering at Note in the Pocket next Wednesday at 10am! Just contact me and I can put you in touch with Dallas! And remember to donate to my Superhero for a Month Volunteer-a-thon cause: Activate Good!

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  • heather


  • I sincerely believe that through the power of storytelling, I can make social issues become more than a set of statistics. My expertise is in community leadership, non-profit work, event coordinating, networking, and storytelling. All my articles.

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