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Sweethearts & Heroes Help Reinforce RAMS Values at RCCSD

September 19, 2022 - An amazing squad of cape-less superheroes emerged upon Red Creek 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.

students at sweethearts and heroes assembly

The Sweethearts & Heroes team is: Tom Murphy, director and co-founder, of St. Albans, Vt., and Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh, a HOPE expert and motivational speaker from New York who was burned severely while serving in Iraq.

“As we start the school year, we wanted to remind students how important it is to practice their RAMS values; Being respectful, accountable, mindful and safe,” said Red Creek CSD Superintendent Dr. Brian Corey. “Sweethearts and Heroes has done a great job spreading that exact message to students across the nation and we are excited to see the positive impact the program will have on our students and community.”

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.”

students sitting in circle looking at purple heart

While in Red Creek, the team spent day one offering its signature presentation to students. On the second and third days, the team worked with students and teachers in Circle. Circle discussions foster community and intimacy in a classroom, and can serve academic and social and emotional purposes. It allows students to speak from the heart and listen with compassion. Doing this early in the school year sets a culture for the rest of the year.

For 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.”