When Fanboy Comics is not providing you with the latest in geek news and entertainment, the FBC staff hopes to offer our readers a myriad of opportunities to give back to the community. We love reading comics, watching movies, and playing video games, but we are never happier than when we are able to help others in need. With Geeks Care: How You Can Help, FBC will provide you a variety of causes that would greatly appreciate your time.
For readers following along with my work through Fanboy Comics and The Katniss Chronicles audio drama, The Hunger Games series and the character of Katniss Everdeen have had a somewhat gigantic impact on my life, personally and professionally. The themes and character portrayals created and depicted by Suzanne Collins serve to open a larger discussion with audiences about gender stereotypes, political discourse, economic disparity, the impacts of war, and the realities of mental illness – to name only a few. While I have had the pleasure of discussing these topics at length with my Katniss Chronicles colleagues through the #TKCrevisited audio journal series, the talented folks at Project UROK and The Harry Potter Alliance – joined by Hunger Games actor Jack Quaid – are taking action to fight the stigma around mental illness and economic inequality by using the #MyHungerGames hashtag to tell their stories on social media.
#MyHungerGames was born out of 2014’s social media conversations around The Hunger Games: Mockingjay movie release and the real-life impact of economic inequality. The #MyHungerGames blog will serve as a place to learn about how economic inequality impacts real people in areas like mental health, criminal justice, the environment, and more. It will also serve as a call to action, offering opportunities to visitors to help decrease the stigma and increase access to mental health services in their communities.
Throughout The Hunger Games series, many characters deal with mental illness. Katniss’ mother lives with depression, Haymitch struggles with addiction, Peeta becomes dissociated from reality, and Katniss struggles with PTSD following her time in the arena. Yet throughout the series, there seem to be no mental health resources available. In Panem’s poorest districts, people who need quality mental health services are forced to go without. Sadly, this injustice isn’t limited to dystopian fiction. In the real world, many people go without mental health services because of economic inequality.
Founded in 2014 by Jenny Jaffe, Project UROK provides not only practical assistance to teenagers in need of mental health help, but also a sense of belonging, a sense of comfort, and a sense of hope. The content on Project UROK ranges from comedy sketches, testimonials, informational videos, a podcast, and scripted and unscripted webseries, and the organization also provides a platform for readers to showcase their own voices and stories by allowing them to upload personal videos and testimonials. In an effort to raise greater awareness and combat the isolation and stigmatization surrounding mental illness, Project UROK is endeavoring to initiate an honest and open conversation about the cause.
The Harry Potter Alliance is Dumbledore’s Army for the real world. Founded in 2005, they are a 501c3 nonprofit that uses the power of story and popular culture to inspire fans to be like the heroes they read about.
For those interested in getting involved in Project UROK and The Harry Potter Alliance or making a donation to the organizations, readers may visit the organizations’ official websites at projecturok.org and thehpalliance.org. In addition, there are a plethora of organizations available for adults in need of mental health assistance, including the National Alliance on Mental Health, Mental Health America, and the Movement for Global Mental Health.
If you have a volunteer opportunity or an important cause that could use the assistance of a few geeks, please email the details to barbra (at) fanboycomics.net.