Warwick Valley students will welcome Sweethearts & Heroes next week, a student empowerment and empathy activation team that raises awareness of, and helps prevent, bullying and suicide. The group will be in Warwick on Thursday, September 29 and Friday, September 30, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday and returning with a second full day of presentations on Friday.
Sweethearts & Heroes will be sharing ways that students and educators can spread HOPE (Hold On Possibilities Exist) during the 2022-2023 school year and beyond.
Sweethearts & Heroes is director and co-founder Tom Murphy, retired U.S. Army sergeant Rick Yarosh, a HOPE expert and motivational speaker who was severely burned while serving in Iraq, and Pat Fish, a young leader who first saw Sweethearts & Heroes as a student. Murphy and Yarosh will be in Warwick to present their group’s signature presentation, which calls for HOPE, Empathy and Action.
“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 Warwick have asked us to their schools for the first time,” 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 is crucial.”
Warwick students will also learn about the BRAVES Buddies program, which trains older students in bully drills that they, in turn, can teach to students in lower grades. Sweethearts & Heroes will return later this year to lead Circle sessions, a technique built on the ancient ritual of communicating in a circle to build empathy.
In 2021, Sweethearts & Heroes released 13 Pillows for Affective Teachers, a novel covering the themes of HOPE, Empathy and Action in the Sweethearts & Heroes curriculum. The group has presented what Murphy calls “‘the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of bullying” for over 15 years and to more than 2 million students from New England to Hawaii. They also tailor their presentations and workshops for businesses, non-profits and civic groups.
“We go where we’re needed,” Murphy said. “That’s what heroes do.”
“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 is crucial.”-Sweethearts & Heroes is director and co-founder Tom Murphy