This year the My Hero Project (a partner with iEARN-USA) celebrates it’s 16th year. The inter-generational project, that was originally envisioned as a TV pilot, but turned into a website, now has stories from 194 countries. My Hero’s mission “is to use media and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower people of all ages to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world.’ With 10 million locations accessing the site this year already, they are certainly on their way!
Last week at ISTE 2012, My Hero educators, co-founders, administrators, board members and supporters held a panel discussion and presentation and on scope and impact titled, “Heralding Heroes: The Impact and Implications of Inspirational Media.” Each educator who presented talked about how they saw their students blossom in their confidence and writing skills as part of the project.
After the presentation I asked some My Hero team members who their heroes are and why:
Jeanne Myers, My Hero Co-Founder:
My heroes are the teachers who devote themselves to creating global citizens, who care about the environment and human rights, filmmakers and unsung heroes”
Jim Carleton, iEARN-Canada Country Co-oridnator and Educator, W.H. Day Elementary School:
My Hero is Mali Bickely because I think she’s an incredible classroom teacher who truly knows how to integrate technology into her curriculum to help her students to be 21st Centuty global learners”
Mali Bickley, iEARN-Canada Country Co-ordinator and Educator, Fieldcrest Elementary School:
My hero is my father because he always taught me to do what was best for other people, and to keep everybody in mind as we were going through our lives. He’s done so much for others, he fought in World War II, and to me is a true hero.”
Cheik Darou Sec, iEARN- Senegal educator and My Hero videographer, Martin Luther King School:
I’ve got many heroes, but I’ll tell you just one of them. Cheik Amoudebama, that’s my religious guide. He’s somebody’s that’s been extremely tolerant while going into a lot of hardships that was during the colonisation. He’s the one who fought for the restoration of dignity for the Senegalese people, dignity for the African people. Those guys, the colonisers wanted to harm him, and in the end when he was asked what he wanted to do with his enemies, he said ‘I forgive them’, so that’s why he’s my hero”
Laura Nietzer, iEARN-USA educator, Saddle River Day School
My hero is Juliette Gordon Low. She started the United States Girl Scouts, and I was a Girl Scout through High School. It gave me a love of nature – and kept it out of trouble!”
Rowena Gerber, iEARN-USA Educator, Miami Country Day School:
I have many heroes, but today I was just thinking, when I watched the video of the students that were doing the cook-off, that my heroes are the children that step forward because it takes so much courage. I’ve seen them standing doing presentations with their hands shaking behind their backs, and I just want to say to those children who make the effort, I love them, they are my heroes and anything we can do as teachers to help facilitate something like that – let’s do it!”
As Dr. Anderson, a licensed clinical psychologist and board member at My Hero, pointed out at the start of the ISTE presentation, talking about our heroes only heightens our feel good emotions and enables us to feel empowered.
This Independence Day week is a good a time as any to reflect on your heroes and start a discussion with your friends , family and colleagues. You can submit stories online via written text, artwork, audio files and films. And come the start of the school year, my Hero provides numerous resources and guides for educators to get your students involved and sharing their stories with peers around the world.
Happy 16th My Hero!
Let’s Continue to Celebrate those who Inspire Us