On November 1, 2023

Sweethearts & Heroes brings more HOPE to Ludlow


Thursday-Friday, Nov. 2-3—LUDLOW—Benson’s Chevrolet Inc. in Ludlow has partnered with an amazing team of superheroes without capes to spread more HOPE (Hold On, Possibilities Exist) at Green Mountain Union High School and within the local community.

Pat Fish, of Sweethearts & Heroes, will be at Green Mountain Union High School on Thursday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 3. 

Sweethearts and Heroes is a student empowerment and empathy activation team that aims to prevent bullying and suicide with a focus on the basic components of social-emotional learning (SEL). Sweethearts & Heroes offers a profound, engaging signature presentation that called 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.

The Sweethearts & Heroes team is: Tom Murphy, director and founder, of St. Albans; Ret. U.S. Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh, a HOPE expert and motivational speaker from New York who was burned severely while serving in Iraq; and Pat Fish, BRAVES and Circle leader, who first saw Sweethearts & Heroes when he was a student in South Glens Falls, New York.

Fish’s upcoming work in Ludlow will focus on Circle. He will lead Circles in 7th and 8th grade classrooms along with a few mixed-grade high school classrooms. Yarosh and Murphy were at Green Mountain Union High School last February; Fish’s visit is a natural follow-up to their work.

Fish said, “Circle is an opportunity for amazing stories to be shared and heard. Amazing isn’t good or bad. Some amazing stories I’ve heard are heartbreaking, others are heartwarming, and others are hilarious. But every single one of us has an amazing story, because we all have unique experiences. Circle allows everyone the chance to share those stories and, more importantly, to practice listening so that we can learn from others’ amazing stories. Also, there are various social-emotional skills practiced in Circle. What sets us apart? We make it fun! Everywhere we go, there’s a thirst for Circle from students of all ages, social groups, and backgrounds. They want to connect further with the people around them. Circle is a vehicle for that.”

Benson’s Chevrolet Inc. sponsored Sweethearts & Heroes events at Green Mountain Union High School last February. The dealership is also sponsoring Fish’s follow-up visit on Nov. 2 and 3. The North Country Chevy Dealers group is a passionate partner of Sweethearts & Heroes.

“This is a program we are very proud to sponsor,” said George Benson of Benson’s Chevrolet Inc. “Anything we can do to help support our schoolchildren is what it’s all about. We all want joy and happiness, and it starts with our young children and adults. Growing up in today’s world is very challenging for all our children, as we all know. Sweethearts & Heroes provides an extra opportunity for our children, so they don’t get ‘left in the dark.’ This is not our first sponsorship for Sweethearts & Heroes, and the feedback we’ve received from the teachers confirms that Sweethearts & Heroes is truly helping our community.”

Murphy said, “We’re cultivating compassion and empathy in schools again this year, and we’re glad that our friends in Ludlow invited us back. We aim to stop students from making destructive decisions and help them treat each other with kindness. We also make our messages sustainable in schools, so that they also have an eventual and sustainable effect on the local community. The spider web effect is powerful, and there’s HOPE for everyone.”

To ensure such sustainability, Sweethearts & Heroes created The HOPE Classroom, a digital subscription service designed for various grade levels and different school sizes. This value-packed offering can allow Sweethearts & Heroes to be in every school in the U.S.

Green Mountain Union High School Counselor Allyson Oswald said, “We are excited to have Pat’s skillful facilitation of Circles in our classes with students and to share those skills with teachers. It’s a valuable skill to create spaces for students to share their stories and lives with one another and places for them to be heard.”

Oswald added, “At Green Mountain, we value a culture of collaboration and a strong school community that looks out for one another. Sweethearts & Heroes has provided opportunities for our students to come together and share their stories. Their framework and Circle practices are a great way to focus on building our skills and making positive change in school communities. Several staff members attended and enjoyed the summer training (that Sweethearts & Heroes) offered in Rutland and are excited to have Pat in the school and continue Circle work.”

For more than 16 years, Sweethearts & Heroes has presented what Murphy calls “‘the ‘stop, drop and roll’ of bullying” to more than 2.5 million students in school districts from New England to Hawaii and north into Canada. Sweethearts & Heroes also tailors its presentations and workshops for businesses, non-profits and civic groups. Murphy said, “We go where we’re needed. That’s what heroes do.”

In 2021, Sweethearts & Heroes released “13 Pillows For Affective Teachers,” a novel that covers the themes of HOPE, Empathy and Action in the Sweethearts & Heroes curriculum. “13 Pillows” is based on real students and teachers that Sweethearts & Heroes has encountered. Murphy co-wrote the book with Brian McKeon, of New York. “13 Pillows” is available on Amazon. Digital or printed copies are available upon request. The audiobook is on Audible or visit: facebook.com/13Pillows.  For more on Circle, visit: youtube.com/watch?v=Q286yIL9L1E. For more information on Sweethearts & Heroes, visit: sweetheartsandheroes.com.

Or watch these short, impactful trailers:




 For more information visit: thehopeclassroom.com.

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