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Image courtesy of Sweethearts & Heroes
Image courtesy of Sweethearts & Heroes

Sweethearts & Heroes brings more HOPE to Tonawanda and Silver Creek


Mon, Apr 22nd 2024 02:00 pm

Submitted by Sweethearts & Heroes

An amazing duo of superheroes without capes will descend upon Tonawanda and Silver Creek to show students and educators how they can keep spreading HOPE (Hold On, Possibilities Exist!) in their classrooms and beyond.

Pat Fish, of Sweethearts & Heroes, will be in the Tonawanda City School District on Thursday, and Friday, April 25-26. On those same days, Fish’s Sweethearts & Heroes teammate, Tom Murphy, will return to the Silver Creek Central School District.

Sweethearts & Heroes is a student empowerment and empathy activation team that aims to prevent hopelessness, suicide and bullying with a focus on the basic components of social-emotional learning. 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 the B.R.A.V.E. youth leadership system, which trains older students in bully drills that they, in turn, teach to students in lower grades.

The Sweethearts & Heroes traveling team is: Murphy, director and founder, of St. Albans, Vermont; Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh, a HOPE expert, motivational speaker and Purple Heart recipient from New York who was burned severely while serving in Iraq; and Fish, B.R.A.V.E. program director and Circle specialist.

While in Tonawanda and Silver Creek, Fish and Murphy will share their expertise in Circle. Murphy and Yarosh worked with Tonawanda students and staff in late-February, and they were in Silver Creek in March. The Circle work on April 25-26 is a natural follow-up to those events.

“The response from staff and students in March was overwhelmingly positive,” said Dr. Katie Ralston, Silver Creek Central School District superintendent. “We are thrilled to welcome Tom back to Silver Creek for more personalized time with our students. This will lay the foundation for continued work next year.”

Fish said, “Circle is an opportunity for amazing stories to be shared and heard. Amazing isn’t good or bad. Some amazing stories I’ve heard are heartbreaking, others are heartwarming, and others are downright hilarious. But every single one of us has an amazing story, because we all have unique experiences. Circle allows everyone a chance to share those stories and, more importantly, practice listening so that we can learn others’ amazing stories. Also, everyone practices various social-emotional skills in Circle. What sets us an apart? We make it fun! Everywhere we go, there’s a thirst for Circle from students of all ages, social groups and backgrounds. They want to connect further with people around them. Circle is a vehicle for that.”

On April 1, Fish released “Boredom School: For Those Bored in School,” a collection of captivating, humorous and thought-provoking poems. The book offers a unique perspective on the monotonous trials of school and the students who yearn for change.

Sweethearts & Heroes’ other book, “13 Pillows For Affective Teachers,” is a novel that covers the themes of HOPE, empathy and action in the Sweethearts & Heroes curriculum. “13 Pillows” is also based on real students and teachers that Sweethearts & Heroes has encountered. Murphy co-wrote the book with Brian McKeon of New York.

Recently, Sweethearts & Heroes announced a joint effort with Spartan Race to create a new series of three-day youth leadership summits. The inaugural event, which kicks off a nationwide initiative for Sweethearts & Heroes, is scheduled for Sept. 11-13 in Killington, Vermont.

Sweethearts & Heroes has also created The HOPE Classroom, a digital subscription service designed for various grade levels and different school sizes. This value-packed offering can allow Sweethearts & Heroes to be in every school in the U.S.

For more than 16 years, Sweethearts & Heroes has presented what Murphy calls “‘the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of bullying” to more than 2.5 million students in school districts from New England to Hawaii and north into Canada. Sweethearts & Heroes also tailors its presentations and workshops for businesses, nonprofits and civic groups. Murphy said, “We go where we’re needed. That’s what heroes do.”

For more information on Sweethearts & Heroes, visit its website, check out its Facebook page, or watch these short, impactful trailers:

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