Trevor Romain is well aware that he is not the most famous man from television named Trevor. While the other Trevor, with the last name, Noah, sparks late-night laughter with more than a tad of political pokes, Trevor Romain does more than delight his daytime audiences across dozens of schools, military bases, hospitals, refugee camps, and conferences.

Across more than 30 years, connecting with hundreds of thousands of children, parents, and program staff Trevor Romain understands the power of humor to break the ice, such as portraying a soldier who was mesmerized by the author’s drawing. His body goes from frenetic motion to pencil-straight through the portrayal, captivating his audience.

Once the laughter and applause subside, however, Trevor Romain’s presentations move into difficult subjects, like bullying, divorce, ADHD, death of loved ones, dealing with the social pressures of cliques and current social media, and more.

Beyond his live engagements, Trevor Romain has developed and collaborated on the PBS children's series, “Comical Sense” embracing the same themes of resilience and overcoming. The affirming programming was included among the lineup of TV Shows for several affiliates. The transplanted Texan dubs himself “an American by choice,” as he related during a late 2018 visit to Camp Lejeune Marine Base. Romain is a proud US citizen for nearly 27 years. The Trevor Romain Company is now based in Austin, TX, where his award-winning, child-centered media in books, DVDs, illustrations, and music are produced.

Per a February 15 interview via e-mail correspondence, the creative dynamo described what continues to fuel his commitment and passion for helping children and why he holds endless faith in their future.

Empathy and truth come first for Trevor Romain

An encounter with a suffering child, while he was serving in the Army in South Africa, shaped Trevor Romain’s mission to devote himself to helping children.

He provided all the help he could, but he wanted to do more and reach more children. With more than a million books sold worldwide, and translated into 22 languages, his presence, words and lively illustrations have fulfilled that promise. Romain has also developed specialized curriculums for children in armed-conflict regions.

There are many times when “adults can't fix children's problems,” the author-illustrator stresses. Quite often, children are not seeking any instant solution. Romain describes how giving an answer of “it will all be okay” or “you'll be alright” can feel like emotional abandonment to a child. Instead, he admonishes that a caring adult should first listen and talk with a child, looking eye-to-eye at child level, and discern what he or she is asking. Sharing a story of similar personal experience and saying “I don't blame you for feeling (scared, lonely, frustrated, etc.). Let's see how we can work through this.”

Trevor Romain has served as a past president of the American Childhood Cancer Organization and has been actively involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

He has an intimate understanding of the fears and feelings of children during a critical and terminal illness. Parents can be so caught up in their own pain that they forgo letting children talk about life, death, and living life to its fullest while they can. In contrast, drawing pictures, writing down every day’s different feelings, and even the special joy of a sunrise or a lick from a puppy creates memories that parents or other caring adults can hold with their child forever.

Trevor Romain shared his experiences with the “cancer kids” with orphaned kids overseas, some of whom had just experienced ice cream for the first time in their lives. Their jubilation was beyond imagination. As Trevor was leaving, one of the children presented him with a single, treasured coin in a tiny bag.

“Can you buy ice cream for the cancer kids with this?” the boy asked. Empathy and truth translate into every language. Trevor Romain feels a child’s truth to his core and uses these traits to teach lessons of resilience.

Trevor Romain is in constant creativity mode

“I love being creative-- it's like an emotional energy drink for me,” gushes Trevor Romain. Whether he's writing, painting, illustrating or creating a song, the floodgates have never slowed for the energetic children's media developer.

Romain wrote his first children's book while he was a young man in advertising. That project was never published, but the genesis of the concept of two imaginary kids running the memory and creative “departments in my head” never left Trevor Romain.

In most of his video productions now, Trevor is himself in live-action, along with his animated protagonists, Jack and Skye. The names are in honor of the creator’s father, named Jack, who passed while Trevor was young. As Trevor chronicles the adventures of Jack and Skye, the artist honors his late father, who is “in the sky. It's a way for me to remember and honor him daily,” Romain reminds.

The essence of a frustrated rockstar also resides within Trevor Romain. Like millions more of his era, he yearned to take the stage and hit the road as a rockstar. “I could never get my fingers to reproduce what I heard in my brain,” Romain ultimately accepted. Life has its own way of granting the heart’s desires.

In many ways, Trevor Romain has embraced the life of his dreams. He travels much of his year, sharing his life with children and those who care for them. His musical collaborator is the Grammy-nominated composer-producer, Carl Thiel. Romain praises his composing partner as being “amazingly open” and, in turn, basic lyrics and tunes have become lasting songs to speak to all ages by artists from Rachel Loy to country star Wade Bowen, among numerous others.

Trevor Romain doesn't shy away from naming his own current favorite of the songs he’s done with Theil. “Not Afraid Anymore” from his video, “Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain” takes top-billing. “It still gives me goosebumps,” relates Romain. The chorus contains a resolute statement to bullies that “Cause I was made equal and free,” reminding children to stay strong in their identity and not shrink in fear.

Transitions are a part of life at every age, and Trevor Romain welcomes the transitions of the future with more ambitious projects. As always, his vision and heart keep the focus on children.

Going places and greater dreams for Trevor Romain

Through his multiple tours with the USO, involvement with the United Nations, and through his development of the Comfort Crew for Military Kids, Trevor Romain became intensely familiar with the unique situation faced by military families of constant family moves. No military family is ever sure when orders dictate that everything familiar must abruptly change. Moves to new installations seem to come with greater regularity than new boots for some service members and children often have entirely different concerns than parents about a move.

The Great Moving Adventure” is a recent production aimed at equipping children with tools for coping with the pressures of relocation. Children are encouraged to be involved in family meetings to prepare for the new schools, new friends, new teachers, and even new sports teams. In these times of cyber communication, long-distance introductions can be a start. Children are also encouraged to make the move itself an occasion for making memories, collecting special items and photos along the way, instead of just longing for the place left behind. Staying connected with old friends with letters and postcards can also be part of the healing process.

“I think we need to model non-judgment and open-mindedness for children,” Trevor Romain emphasizes, and that includes comments said when adults think children are not listening.

He stresses that “secondhand information” from close adults in a child's world can have a tremendous impact to inform and influence. He is also constantly aware that “children know way more than I do” no matter how experienced or prepared he feels for a session. “They are always the smartest people in the room.”

Dreams are crucial to children's healthy development, and Trevor Romain has vivid dreams for future projects. He envisions a full-length movie for his book, “The Keeper of the Dreams.” The story portrays a little girl who must face a nemesis who has taken all the dreams. The author feels that the theme of facing down fears and forces that stifle dreams is extremely timely and valid, particularly in a time when many children feel helpless and forgotten.

Many children utilize their own talents or skills to find greater purpose beyond themselves. Ruby Chitsey delivers joy along with simple delights to nursing homes. Jonah Larson has brought beauty and lessons in diligence to the world with his speedy crocheting. Trevor Romain strives to inspire confidence in every child to make the world better and no act of kindness is too small.

Canvas and paints play a part in the future purpose for Trevor Romain. Creative people never run out of ways to express themselves, and the artist recently posted some of his portraits of children from the orphanages and refugee camps of Africa on social media. Despite their circumstances, resilience and hope shine from their faces.

Trevor Romain looks toward a traveling exhibit of those works, using his talents to be a champion for children through another medium.

Trevor Romain declares that his greatest compliment from a child is being told “I wish you were my dad,” from an orphaned child. In a very real way, Trevor Romain has become the universal dad to countless children across the globe, and he continues to give gifts from his heart.

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