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Lakewood man has promises to keep

Alissa Widman Neese • May 8, 2014 at 2:30 PM

In Alex Sheen’s eyes, his father perfected the ultimate superpower.

He didn’t possess any unearthly abilities. He didn’t fight crime.

Like all superheroes, he simply kept his promises.

To Sheen, that’s all that separates the superheroes from the supervillains.

“He was a man of his word” said Sheen of his father, who died of cancer in 2012. “The one thing that makes a superhero is probably the only thing we all can have in common with them”

In his father’s memory, Sheen, 28, of Lakewood, founded “because I said I would,” a social movement and nonprofit group dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept.

Want to pledge a promise?

For more information and to read inspiring promise stories, go to becauseisaidiwould.com   or search for “because I said I would” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

While online, you can print or order your own promise cards to join the cause.

The concept: A person writes a commitment on a “promise card,” an incentive to stay true to their word, no matter how big or small the goal.

Some people trade their promise cards to stay motivated, while others post a picture of them on social media.

At his father’s funeral, Sheen passed out his first batch of promise cards. He’s since promoted the concept throughout the United States, and has sent 1.35 million promise cards to 105 countries.

Sheen’s next stop is Sandusky, where he will host private presentations Friday for students at Mills and Osborne elementary schools.

His presentation will incorporate the superhero theme and address age-appropriate promises — respecting a teacher, collecting spare change for a fundraiser or greeting a classmate in the hallway.

Other promises he’s witnessed, among an older crowd, include combating serious issues such as selfharm and addictions.

“We can all be heroes every day, in little or small ways, if we make a commitment to someone, including ourselves, and stick with it” Sheen said.

Linda Kerst, youth director at the Volunteer Center of Erie County, coordinated the opportunity through the center’s Kids Care Clubs.

The clubs, assigned to various Erie County schools, encourage volunteerism and good deeds among local children.

“Many of our students need a role model like Alex,” Kerst said.

Since 2012, Sheen has grown extremely popular on national television and on social media. He’s been featured on CNN, The Today Show and at TEDx talks, and the audience on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages grows daily.

Kerst secured a grant this past year to bring Sheen to Sandusky’s schools, before his rapid rise to fame. Despite a filled schedule, Sheen assured the Register nothing will sideline his visit to Sandusky.

“I said I would,” Sheen said, fittingly. “That means I’ll be there”

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