AURORA, Colo. — Transforming into Disney princesses, Jedis, and superheroes are just a normal part of the job for the volunteers who make up the group called Truly Make Believe. They try to get into character at least once a month and spend time with children battling life-threatening illnesses.
“I think when you do it, you get addicted to it because you see the impact you can have on other people’s lives,” said Rachel Oehlert.
She began the group four years ago after struggling with dyslexia and dysgraphia.
“I decided I would dress up as Belle and go to libraries by myself and read to kids because I love acting, and I decided that was the best way to overcome my own insecurities and really push myself,” said Oehlert. “I think it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try to impact other people while doing it.”
The group is comprised of about 10 to 15 people. They all cover their own expenses for their characters. Costumes cost about $250, along with wigs, make-up, shoes, and other accessories.
“We try to do it at least once a month. But we all work. We’re either working full time or we are in school,” said Oehlert.
For the volunteers, it can be a struggle to stay positive.
“You walk into situations and you want to fix it, but you can’t. You have to have a specific drive in you because it’s tough,” said Oehlert. “You’re exposed to a lot of stuff; you walk into a lot of situations that normally you wouldn’t have.”
Even with the hardships, she said it’s worth it because of the smiles they see when they enter a room.
“We just want to make people happy, and that’s why it continues to grow. We see more and more opportunities to reach out to people and provide that escape,” said Oehlert.