BALTIMORE — If 12-year-old Ruby Choi had to pick a superpower, it wouldn't be the usual go-to's like super-human strength or invisibility. It would be kindness.
"I’m kind to my friends and I include them as much as I can," she said.
And if Choi ever needs a little help summoning her superpower, she can look to one of her favorite superheroes named Zoe the Courageous.
"I’ve had some insecurities and I just think of Zoe the Courageous and she boosts me up."
You won't find Zoe in the Marvel or DC Comics universes. She is one of several kid superheroes that make up the Perfectly Me Universe, created by Raquel Gilmer. Gilmer drew inspiration to start this program from her childhood, when she says she dealt with peer pressure and bullying.
"That’s how our first hero was born and that’s Zoe the Courageous. She has a special place in my heart because her story deals a lot with body image issues and being teased because she was heavier."
Each superhero has a different backstory and uses "super values" like kindness, compassion and resilience to overcome obstacles. And like all superheroes, they must battle villains. In the Perfectly Me Universe, that villain is AdversiT and her minions like Naysayers and Anxieties.
"If you are kind and compassionate in this world, if you treat people well, if you are fearless and go after opportunities and you don’t shy away because you’re scared, then you will change and save the world," said Gilmer.
Gilmer uses the comics to teach kids about self-esteem and confidence and also offers activities on the Perfectly Me website that families can do together to practice these super values.
For the first time, Gilmer is doing a Superheroes Training Camp this summer through Roland Park Country School. Kids will be able to make their own capes and comics and do other activities like yoga, martial arts and STEM projects.
Choi is going to be a counselor-in-training and is excited to work with other kids to share her love of the Perfectly Me Universe.
"I look forward to talk about how kids can be anything they want to if they believe in themselves," she said. "If they have something that they think is a disability that they should take advantage of that and turn it into their own super power."
"We’re going to chip away at the darkness in our world and some of the unkindness. We’re going to chip away at it one kid at a time, one camp at a time, one program at a time," said Gilmer.
WMAR-2 News viewers can use the special promo code PM2021 to get $50 off the registration for the camp. It will run the weeks of June 21 and 28. For more information on how to register, click here and scroll down to the Creativity Camps section.