Sweethearts & Heroes, the nation's most unique and effective anti-bullying program, has partnered with Wells River Chevrolet to bring a powerful and timely message to students in Wells River, Vt., in early March.
Sweethearts & Heroes is co-developed by Tom Murphy, a former professional MMA fighter and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran from St. Albans, Vt., and Jason Spector, an educator and coach in Glens Falls, N.Y. Sweethearts & Heroes has caught on nationwide because it emphasizes an action-based approach - going beyond awareness - to an issue that affects schools, neighborhoods and individuals. Murphy's engaging, energetic and interactive presentation focuses on victims, bullies and the bystanders who can be empowered to make a difference. He call his UFC career his "delicious hook" with students.
The crux of the Sweethearts & Heroes presentation, and all of the organization's efforts, is a literal A-B-C approach to bullying. In addition, Rick Yarosh, a retired sergeant with the U.S. Army - injured in Iraq with burns over most of his body - gives a message about overcoming adversity and turning a negative situation into a positive one.
Wells River Chevrolet in Wells River is sponsoring the Sweethearts & Heroes event at Blue Mountain Union School. The Wells River Chevrolet team says: "Wells River Chevrolet is excited to announce the upcoming presentation of Sweethearts & Heroes at Blue Mountain Union School. Students at BMU will benefit from an interactive experience targeted towards bullying. The issue of bullying in schools is worth everyone's attention, and Wells River Chevrolet is proud to announce Sweethearts & Heroes' presentation on March 4 at BMU. We look forward to the benefits it will bring to our school and community."
Murphy and Spector call Sweethearts and Heroes "the 'stop, drop and roll' of bullying"; their message is about H.O.P.E. (Hold On Possibilities Exist). Since 2011, Murphy has presented Sweethearts & Heroes to more than 1 million students in several hundred schools from New England to Hawaii. Murphy and Spector also tailor Sweethearts & Heroes for businesses, colleges/universities and camps.
"Just talking about awareness doesn't fix anything," says Murphy, a husband and father who competed on the second season of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter. "What separates us from other anti-bullying presentations and projects is that we have the plan to curb and even stop bullying in your school, or wherever it exists for you. But we go beyond bullying. We are about humanity, giving H.O.P.E. to the hopeless and making the world a better place."
Murphy and Spector are New Yorkers who wrestled (All American) for premier Division III college wrestling coach Don Murray at SUNY-Brockport. Murphy and Spector eventually became mixed martial arts (MMA) competitors. "We use Einstein's quote: 'The world is a dangerous place not because of those who choose to do evil, but because of those who choose to do nothing about it'," says Spector. "We offer a unique perspective on bullying and leave audiences with an A-B-C action plan to fight it. Bullying isn't the problem. Bullies have been around forever. The problem is we don't have enough Sweethearts and Heroes in the world."
For more information on Sweethearts & Heroes, visit sweetheartsandheroes.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweetheartsandheroes/
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChmbRNNgpGWkMRIUxSS-bGg
Thomas Murphy was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. When Tom was 12, he and his family relocated to Cooperstown, N.Y., where he graduated from Cooperstown High School. Tom went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude in Human Psychology from SUNY Brockport. While attending the University of Brockport, Tom was inducted into The National Honor Society and The National Honor Society in Psychology. Tom was also the proud recipient of the prestigious Brockport Alumni Scholarship in 1997. In 1996 and 97, Tom was awarded honors by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) when he achieved the status of Academic All-American. Tom also went on to achieve All-American status by placing 2nd in the Nation at the NCAA wrestling tournament at 190 pounds.
Tom, a proud husband and father of four, resides in the City of St. Albans, VT. After graduating from SUNY Brockport, Tom and his family moved to St. Albans, where he filled a position as a rail traffic control specialist for the New England Central Railroad (NECR). Shortly after his arrival, Tom was given the opportunity to establish a nationally recognized rail traffic control center for RailAmerica, Inc., NECR's parent company. In January 2004, Tom initiated the establishment of the American Rail Dispatching Center (ARDC). For more than 16 years, Tom orchestrated the consolidation of over 80 short line and regional railroads under one roof. The ARDC has brought national recognition to the small city of St. Albans.
Tom continues to keep his hat in the railroad ring; after leaving Geneses and Wyoming (owner of ARDC), he helped coordinate consolidation of the Rio Grande and Pacific railroads to their corporate headquarters in Ft. Worth, TX. Tom also helped establish them as a rail traffic control center, offering services to the short line and regional railroad industry.
Tom is an accomplished small business owner and entrepreneur. He owns one of the premier restaurants in northern Vermont (www.twiggsvt.com) and, prior to that, owned and operated 15,000-square-foot fitness facility.
Tom's martial arts accomplishments began shortly after his move to St. Albans, where he met and trained under the legendary Carlson Gracie and one of Carlson's most accomplished black belts, Julio Fernandez. Shortly after competing on an amateur level, Tom landed several big fights, including a pay-for-view debut in King of The Cage's (KOTC) "Payback." Tom has also fought at the Trump Casino in Chicago and in Atlantic City. Tom then competed on Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter 2." The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) called Tom shortly after the reality show and offered him a shot at fighting in UFC 58. Tom won his UFC debut fight with a TKO win over the Canadian World Heavyweight Champion.
Tom's business experience and athletic background were combined with a collegiate teammate as they joined forces to start a national anti-bullying organization called Sweethearts & Heroes (www.sweetheartsandheroes.org). Tom and his partner, Jason Spector, have become two of the leading authorities on anti-bullying in schools, and Tom has become one of the most engaging speakers on the topic; he specializes in energizing students, teachers and parents. Tom and Jason have presented their unique message to more than 1 million students, teachers and parents to date. Tom also speaks corporately on leadership, motivation and other topics such as goal setting and character development.
•Tom Murphy, co-founder, Sweethearts & Heroes: 802-309-9539, tom@sweetheartsandheroes.com
•Jason Spector, co-founder, Sweethearts & Heroes: 518-229-3367, beaheroabc@gmail.com
•Leon Thompson, Communications/Media Specialist, Sweethearts & Heroes, 802-309-3198, wunwish@yahoo.com

Wells River, VT, school taps Sweethearts & Heroes to help battle bullies: 3/4/19
WELLS RIVER, Vt. -- Sweethearts & Heroes, the nation's most unique and effective anti-bullying program, has partnered with Wells River Chevrolet to bring a powerful and timely message to students in Wells River, Vt., in early March.
The media is invited to learn more about Sweethearts & Heroes, which helps save young lives across the U.S., during these presentations for students at Blue Mountain Union School (BMU) on Monday, March 4:
  • 7:55-8:40 a.m. - Presentation for Grades K-3
  • 8:45-9:45 a.m. - Presentation for Grades 4-6
  • 10:00-11:30 a.m. - Presentation for grades 7-12
  • 12:00-1:25 p.m. - Workshops with National Honor Society & Student Council
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m. - Workshops with staff
  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. - Workshops for parent