The Sherburne-Earlville Central School District will welcome Sweethearts & Heroes to campus on Wednesday, December 8, to help students address the social and emotional obstacles they may have encountered during the last two school years.
Tom Murphy, co-founder of the student empowerment and empathy activation program, and retired U.S. Army sergeant Rick Yarosh will work with S-E middle and high school students during a 90-minute presentation that focuses on “Empathetic Fitness” and H.O.P.E. (Hold On. Possibilities Exist.).
“What did students lose during 2020?” asked Murphy, who has presented “the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of bullying” to more than 2 million students across the country over the last 10 years. “Developmental windows were disrupted. That’s why Sweethearts & Heroes is going to schools this year to focus on human skills, such as empathy, compassion, and the other relationship skills that cause struggles for so many students.
“Our students need help with their social and emotional health – now more than ever,” he continued. “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 and Yarosh, who suffered burns over most of his body in Iraq, will talk about overcoming adversity and putting an end to bullying.
“Just talking about (bullying) 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 H.O.P.E. to the hopeless, and making the world a better place.”
S-E Middle School Principal Jamie Maistros said she and High School Principal Nicholas Colosi are looking forward to the presentation and its potential to have a positive impact on students.
“In alignment with our strategic plan, we aim to be a model school where ‘everyone is treated with compassion, kindness, and dignity.’ ” Maistros said. “During a time that is unlike any we have experienced before, it takes intentional work to ensure we are living out this core belief. The conversation ignited by Sweethearts & Heroes will continue our progress of serving students as they grow their capacity in these areas.”