Lisha Kill Middle School activates HOPE with Sweethearts & Heroes presentation

Rick Yarosh (left), surviving war hero who was badly burned in his time in service. He has visible scars on his face and is missing his ears, nose, and upper lip. Tom Murphy (right) stands next to Rick in front of a semi-sheer white curtain covering a large window that takes up the entire background. Tom has his right hand on Rick's right shoulder. They are both wearing white button up shirts, with the sweethearts and heroes logo on the left chest-- above the pocket. They are both smiling and looking into the camera.
Rick Yarosh (left) and Tom Murphy (right), Sweethearts and Heroes presenters.

An amazing duo of superheroes without capes will be at Lisha Kill Middle School to show students and educators how they can spread HOPE (Hold On, Possibilities Exist) in their classrooms—and beyond.

Tom Murphy and Rick Yarosh, of Sweethearts & Heroes, a student empowerment and empathy activation team that aims to prevent bullying and suicide, will work with the Lisha Kill Middle School community on Jan. 30. The media is invited to attend.

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 BRAVE 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, VT; 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, BRAVE and Circle Leader. (For more on Circle:

“We’re coming to Colonie to cultivate compassion and empathy,” Murphy said. “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 have an eventual and sustainable effect on the local community. The spider web effect is powerful.”

Sweethearts and Heroes presenters stand on either end of a projector screen located in a school auditorium. The photo is taken from the back of the room, there are rows of students facing the presenters with undivided attention. On the projector screen thee is a quote: "you may not recognize it yet- but you possess the H.O.P.E, that many seek,"- Rick Yarosh.
Rick and Tom engage with the audience.

“As I have had the privilege of getting to know our Lisha Kill school community, I have become accustomed to the ways in which our students think and learn. I have been pleasantly surprised at our students’ willingness to take on challenges and lend a helping hand in doing so,” said Lisha Kill principal Jill Penn. “We are looking forward to welcoming the individuals from Sweethearts & Heros and giving them a platform to reinforce the values of empathy and compassion. I look forward to seeing how our students take this information and implement it into their daily lives.” 

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. Murphy said, “We go where we’re needed. That’s what heroes do.”

For more information on Sweethearts & Heroes, visit