MAYFIELD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “This will change the world.” That’s the hope of anti-bullying organization Sweethearts and Heroes, who brought their social-emotional lesson, “Circle,” to Mayfield Middle and High Schoolers earlier this week.
Pat Fish, a member of the student empowerment and empathy activation team at Sweethearts and Heroes, worked in the Mayfield Schools on Monday, September 19, and Tuesday, September 20. While in Mayfield, Fish shared his expertise in Circle—a program built on the ancient ritual of communicating in a circle to build empathy.
Fish directs Sweethearts and Heroes’ BRAVES Buddies programs, which train older students in bully drills that they, in turn, teach to students in lower grades. He also is a certified mental performance coach who works with teams on building a strong culture and athletes to train their brains, along with their game. On top of that, Fish is a gifted freestyle rapper who can wow students with his ability to rhyme off the top of his head based on things he just learned about them.
Pat graduated in 2018 from the State University of New York at Oneonta and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology. He will also visit Mayfield four other times during the 2022-2023 school year to ensure Circle becomes a sustainable part of school culture there.
“Where Pat feels his greatest contribution to the team has been made is in Circle,” Tom Murphy, director and co-founder of Sweethearts and Heroes, said. “He has become an expert on the practice of Circle for building empathy and bringing people together through the process of deep listening and making connections. Through understanding perspectives, emotional sharing, and moments of compassion, our Circles consistently improve culture in the classroom, the school, and the community.”
According to Mayfield Superintendent of Schools Christopher Harper, “Pat Fish’s visit built upon powerful work begun by Sweethearts and Heroes when they came to our district last April, providing our school community with tools to use during challenging times while enhancing their communications, coping and interpersonal skills.”
The April presentation revolved around Sweethearts and Heroes’ flagship program, HOPE—”Hold On, Possibilities Exist!”—intending to prevent bullying and suicide. Murphy and Fish were joined for that program by teammate Rick Yarosh, a retired sergeant with the U.S. Army — injured in Iraq with burns over most of his body — who gives messages about overcoming adversity.
If you know a school or group of schools that could benefit from Sweethearts and Heroes’ message, sponsorship opportunities are available online. Programs are available for students of all ages, from the elementary level through college.