An amazing squad of cape-less superheroes emerged upon Red Creek this week to show students and educators how they can spread HOPE (Hold On, Possibilities Exist!) during the 2022-2023 school year — and beyond.
Sweethearts & Heroes, a student empowerment and empathy activation team that prevents bullying and suicide, were in the Red Creek Central School District from Wednesday, Sept. 14 through Friday, Sept. 16.
The Sweethearts & Heroes team is: Tom Murphy, director and co-founder, of St. Albans, Vt.; Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh, a HOPE expert and motivational speaker from New York who was burned severely while serving in Iraq; and Pat Fish, an aspiring young leader who first saw Sweethearts & Heroes as a student in Glens Falls, N.Y.
Sweethearts & Heroes offers: a profound, engaging signature presentation that calls for HOPE, Empathy and Action; Circle, which is built on the ancient ritual of communicating in a circle to build empathy; and BRAVES Buddies, which trains older students in bully drills that they, in turn, teach to students in lower grades.
“We’re thrilled to be back in New York for the 2022-2023 school year, and we’re honored that our friends and colleagues in Red Creek asked us to work with them for three days,” said Murphy. “The most recent national data tells us that student anxiety and hopelessness are still on the rise — a trend that was escalating before COVID hit — so our work in Red Creek is crucial.”
While in Red Creek, the team spent Day One (9/14) offering its signature presentation to students in all grade levels. On the second and third days (9/15 and 9/16), the team worked on Circle with students and teachers. (For more on Circle: https://youtu.be/C2-DEwtbBOw.)
For more than 15 years, Sweethearts & Heroes has presented what Murphy calls “‘the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of bullying” to more than 2 million students in school districts from New England to Hawaii. Murphy, Yarosh and Fish also tailor their presentations and workshops for businesses, non-profits and civic groups. Murphy said, “We go where we’re needed. That’s what heroes do.”
In 2021, Sweethearts & Heroes released 13 Pillows For Affective Teachers, a novel that covers the themes of HOPE, Empathy and Action in the Sweethearts & Heroes curriculum. 13 Pillows is based on real students and teachers that Sweethearts & Heroes has encountered. Murphy co-wrote the book with Brian McKeon, of Fort Worth, Texas. 13 Pillows is available on Amazon. Digital or printed copies are available upon request. The audiobook is on Audible. (On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/13Pillows)