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Sweethearts and Heroes program aims to give students boost

Posted 4/29/22

TURIN — The current and last school years have presented students across the U.S. with tremendous social and emotional obstacles, but a nationally renown program is coming to Turin, to help …

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Sweethearts and Heroes program aims to give students boost

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TURIN — The current and last school years have presented students across the U.S. with tremendous social and emotional obstacles, but a nationally renown program is coming to Turin, to help students in the South Lewis Central School District.

Sweethearts and Heroes, a student empowerment and empathy activation team, will bring its powerful messages to South Lewis on Tuesday, May 3.

“What did students lose during 2020?” said Tom Murphy, co-founder of Sweethearts and Heroes. “Developmental windows were disrupted. That’s why Sweethearts and Heroes is going to schools this year to focus on the human skills, such as empathy, compassion, and the other relationship skills that cause struggles for so many students,” Murphy added.

“Our students need help with their social and emotional health — now more than ever. We like to say, ‘You can’t be a teacher of literacy without being a teacher of humanity first.’ That’s the focus that needs to happen for our children during this school year,” Murphy said.

Sweethearts and Heroes will spend its time in Turin presenting its signature program to South Lewis students in all grade levels. Murphy’s original Sweethearts and Heroes presentation focuses on “Empathetic Fitness” and HOPE (Hold On, Possibilities Exist!) with an aim at preventing bullying and suicide.

For 15 years, he has presented what he calls “‘the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of bullying” to more than 2 million students in thousands of schools from New England to Hawaii.

Murphy will be joined by Rick Yarosh, a retired sergeant with the U.S. Army — injured in Iraq with burns over most of his body — who gives messages about HOPE and overcoming adversity.

“Just talking about awareness doesn’t fix anything,” Murphy said. “What separates us from other anti-bullying presentations and projects is that we give each student a plan to activate their innate superpowers — to empower them to help others that are struggling with bullying or other challenges that all students face.”

“Our message and strategies go way beyond bullying. We are about humanity, giving HOPE to the hopeless and making the world a better place,” he added.

“Many of our students have faced challenges as we’ve returned to full in-person instruction this school year,” said Judith Duppert, South Lewis middle school principal. “For the last two years, they have had limited interaction with their peers, and many will benefit from a refresh on appropriate social behavior. Our students have been resilient in spite of these challenges, and we look forward to providing them additional support through Sweethearts and Heroes.”

In late 2021, Sweethearts and Heroes released 13 Pillows For Affective Teachers, a fictional and inspiring allegorical novel that covers the themes of HOPE and Action found in the Sweethearts and Heroes curriculum. 13 Pillows is available on Amazon.

13 Pillows is based on real students and teachers that Sweethearts and Heroes has encountered over the years. Murphy cowrote the book with Brian McKeon of Fort Worth, Texas.

For more information on Sweethearts and Heroes, visit: sweetheartsandheroes.com.

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