Sweethearts & Heroes inspire Elementary students

An anti-bullying, pro-student empowerment team landed at Schoharie Elementary School today.

Sweethearts & Heroes held two inspirational and informational assemblies for students in grades kindergarten through grade 5, before working with individual classes. They are slated to continue that work on Friday.

The Sweethearts & Heroes team is: Tom Murphy, director, of St. Albans, Vt.; Yarosh, a retired U.S. Army sergeant, 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 South 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 working in schools for the 2022-2023 school year, and we’re honored that our friends and colleagues in Schoharie have invited us to their district,” 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 Schoharie is crucial.”

While in Schoharie, Murphy and Yarosh are offering students and staff in grades K-5 several of their signature presentations about HOPE, Action and Empathy. They are also spending time in smaller groups talking to students about HOPE and overcoming adversity.

“I’m so excited to welcome Sweethearts & Heroes to Schoharie Elementary!” said Lindsay DiMaso, Schoharie Elementary School counselor. “We are hoping that students will gain skills to advocate, empower, and stand up for themselves and others as well as build communication skills that will help them to solve conflicts as they grow. This program is invigorating and exciting, and I’m so glad we are giving our students this experience.

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.”

Two men stand and fistbump