The Beginning of a Hero™ 
The Beginning of a Hero™ is a series of two-minute audio presentations for use on elementary school intercom systems. The program spotlights famous people of great accomplishment in helping others—the people we call “heroes!” Just as these heroes started out planting seeds of accomplishment in their childhoods, the program encourages young listeners to consider their own futures by following the examples presented in these stories.

Bully Alert™ 
Bully Alert!™ is a series of two-minute stories that works in conjunction with The Beginning of a Hero™. Stories on the Bully Alert!™ CD tell of bullying situations and how they were resolved by a teacher, peer, administrator, or parent. An ongoing study by researchers at Stephen F. Austin University shows this program to be most effective in changing attitudes and behaviors among students who hear it regularly. The Bully Alert!™ program expands on material that Jim Lord presents in school assembly programs.

The Beginning of Little Heroes!™ 
This is where it all starts—by introducing a new academic language to the youngest of students in PreK and Kindergarten. The Beginning of Little Heroes™is a series of stories that addresses heroes and bullies using examples that 4 and 5 year old children can clearly understand. “A hero is a person who helps other people, and a bully is a person who hurts other people. That’s why a bully is the opposite of a hero.” They hear this concept repeatedly until it becomes a part of their thought processes. Each story concludes with the song, You Can Be a Hero, Too!

School Assembly Programs
Jim Lord’s live presentations for elementary school students are fun, motivating, and inspiring! They cause even the youngest of audience members to THINK—about their relationships with others as they learn about heroes who help people and bullies who hurt people. They also learn to visualize themselves in the future, and realize how they can even become their own heroes by preparing now to make their adult lives better!

Family Assembly Programs
The presentations for families are conducted in the evening and help parents learn more effective ways to communicate with their children about bullying. Parents also hear (perhaps for the first time) ways to become special and memorable Heroes for their own children.

How It Works
With regular use of The Beginning of Little Heroes™ program, Pre-K, Kindergarten, and even 1st grade students learn through specific examples that bullying is a bad idea. But it doesn’t stop there. Students are not taught to simply stop a negative behavior, but to replace it with a positive behavior. Played in the classroom on a regular basis, all stories contain several common elements: A student or group of students give maximum effort to a stated learning situation; a student or group of students display a focus on his/her/their own future; each story contains a bullying incident typical of the early childhood classroom or playground setting, sometimes physical, sometimes verbal, sometimes covert (through rumors, ostracizing, etc.) In each segment, the student instigating the incident will be identified as “acting like a bully.” In each segment, at the encouragement of a teacher, administrator, parent, or peer, the would-be bully will have a change of heart, and decide to become a “hero” who helps, instead of a “bully” who hurts. Each segment also contains the song entitled, You Can Be a Hero, Too, which identifies a hero as being the opposite of a bully, and gives reasons for becoming a hero instead of a bully.

Age appropriate programs continue for 1st through 6th graders with The Beginning of a Hero™ program, which is played weekly on the school intercom. It encourages positive personal vision to emulate the childhoods of the famous heroes portrayed in the stories. Then, on a second day each week, Bully Alert!™identifies, through specific examples, the negative behavior of bullying, and offers the positive alternative of helping instead of hurting.

The concept of personal vision continues into middle school and beyond with the program entitled, A Reflection of Your Future, which consists of a series of 60-second audio messages for the school intercom. Other supporting materials include the book, Mr. Delaney’s Mirror: A Reflection of Your Future, the accompanying workbook, Mr. Delaney’s Mirror: The Guided Journal, and live assembly programs for both students and families.

Why it Works
Beginning with 3 and 4 year old children, and continuing through elementary school and beyond, regular listening teaches solidly the concept that a hero and a bully are opposites. With a wide variety of specific bullying scenarios being portrayed, the would-be bully will have an established reference prior to his/her proposed act, and through that, encouragement to refrain and to replace his/her avenue of thinking with a more positive thought process. Also, the would-be bully will know that his/her peers possess the same information, producing a perceived intimidation and disdain by his/her peers. Simultaneously, students learn the concept of helping others (AND helping themselves to a better future!) by following the examples of other children who did just that and are now recognized for great accomplishment. Discipline referrals go down; Scores go up!

The Next Step
Call The Character Network at 1-800-364-6883.  Learn how your school can start these programs immediately!

Click here to download printable version.

Click here to download the full report by Lee Stewart, Ed.D., Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX.