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Helping Kids
Spotlight Heroes

Few children have comprehensive eye examinations before they start kindergarten, and undetected vision problems can have a devastating impact on early learning. An optometrist explains some of the “symptoms” of vision impairment in young students. Included: Behaviors that could signal a child is having trouble seeing.

At a time when self-indulgent negative behavior draws so much attention, Jeanne Meyers wants to help young people recognize and honor the heroes in their lives. She co-founded and oversees the MY HERO Project, which allows kids to post information about their heroes, learn more about heroes from history and every day life, and gain insight into the characteristics of those individuals who truly deserve to be called heroic.

Jeanne Meyers

Education World: What prompted you to start the MY HERO project?

Jeanne Meyers: We launched MY HERO Project on August 28, 1995 to celebrate the best of humanity. We created this not-for-profit educational project as an alternative to the mass media filled with violence and negative role models.

Our idea was simple; to create a virtual space where people of all ages could share and discover stories about real life heroes from around the globe. We built this online resource hoping to inspire young and old alike to believe in their own abilities to create positive change in the world. Since then, millions have taken part in this global storytelling project. Great scholars, writers, artists, and filmmakers have contributed work to this ever-growing Internet archive. Visitors of all ages are invited to add their hero story to this global learning online community.

EW: What are your goals for MY HERO?

“Students learn about themselves in the process of researching and writing about those they admire.”

Meyers: Our goals include providing a media venue where people from all walks of life can have their voices heard in a safe, commercial-free, child-friendly environment; promoting positive role models; empowering young people to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world; bridging the digital divide and continuing to enrich this digital media archive with inspiring stories from around the globe; enlisting support from foundations, grants, and government agencies, corporations, and individuals so that this global learning project can continue to grow and provide a freely-accessible, online multi-media resource to educators and students around the world for decades to come.

EW: How can teachers use this program?

Meyers: Teachers can utilize MY HERO to develop reading, research, and writing skills, enhance global understanding, create visual presentations, support individualized learning, and provide role models to support a character education curriculum.

MY HERO is used across many different disciplines, including English and social studies, computer technology, science and environmental studies, English-as-a-second- language, and special and gifted educational programs. Online lesson plans and resources help teachers introduce hero-themed visual arts, digital, and media arts into their curriculum and provide step-by-step instructions on how to create short films for a global audience.

EW: Why do you think kids need to identify heroes in their lives?

Meyers: Students learn about themselves in the process of researching and writing about whom they admire and why. Learning about the various ways individuals from all walks of life have successfully confronted challenges and overcome obstacles can help young people understand their own potential to effect positive change in their lives and in their world.

“We built this online resource hoping to inspire young and old alike to believe in their own abilities to create positive change in the world.”

EW: What attributes do kids these days consider heroic?

Meyers: I would say kindness, generosity, perseverance, courage, and compassion.

EW: What are the benefits for kids of identifying heroes in their lives?

Meyers: Heroes serve to inspire, motivate, and mentor kids, giving them hope for a brighter tomorrow. Their creative solutions to challenging problems and innovative ways of overcoming obstacles along the path to accomplishing their goals encourage young people to follow their dreams and believe that they, too, can make a difference.

This e-interview with Jeanne Meyers is part of the Education World Wire Side Chat series. Click here to see other articles in the series.



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Article by Ellen R. Delisio
Education World®
Copyright © 2011 Education World


Published 03/16/2011