In 1995, three mothers--Jeanne, Rita and Karen--got together to start The MY HERO Project. Disturbed by the negativity of “reality” TV, they resolved to create a safe, online space where children could learn about real-life heroes creating positive change. It was during these early days of the Internet that MY HERO became one of the first websites to offer a media arts education program for children, teaching them to create and publish media online. Since then, millions of students from all over the world have benefited from our educational programs and contributed to The MY HERO Project.
Today, The MY HERO Project is a trusted destination for global educators. MY HERO’s curated hero content reminds us of the human potential for good. By inspiring, engaging and empowering students, MY HERO not only brings classroom lessons to life, but can transform the lives of students.
Each year, millions of visitors from 197 countries discover new heroes on myhero.com through our digital treasury of art, audio, short films, and stories. Our staff reviews submissions daily to ensure that work is appropriate for all ages. MY HERO’s homepage features thematic content to honor diverse heroes--global and community leaders working to solve the great challenges of our time. Over 2 million pages of content created with our web-authoring tools are accessed every month. Like one candle lit by another, they in turn create and share their own vision of heroism, becoming part of our global community. The MY HERO global community comes from all walks of life and are of all ages. They include students, teachers, parents, life learners; artists, filmmakers, musicians, writers; activists and leaders.
Each contribution from this community represents the work of someone grappling with the profound question of ‘What is a hero?’ and has the power to inspire others to make a difference in their own part of the world.
Participants in our Media Arts Education Program acquire 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, project management, research, communication and new media literacy. Students can create digital portfolios of their MY HERO stories, art, films and music and may return year after year to add new media to the website and to their portfolio.
The Media Arts Education Program consists of three components: The Teacher’s Room, which provides standards-aligned lesson plans and online resources for educators; Learning Circles, which are virtual collaborative classrooms; and Media Arts Workshops, which teach media arts skills to students at underserved schools.
Media Arts Production Resources and Mentors are available online. Our free, not-for-profit educational project aligns with teachers' needs to bring students together to learn, to respect our differences and common humanity, and to use media and technology for social good in a safe online environment.
The Teacher’s Room provides standards-aligned lesson plans, tutorials and resources to enrich learning in the classroom. Teachers in turn share lesson plans which integrate MY HERO in the classroom so others can benefit from their experience, and connect with each other via our community board and social media platforms.
MY HERO also offers multimedia lesson plans driven by our Hero Calendar, which explores themes throughout the year including Black History Month, Human Rights Day, International Day of Peace and Tolerance, and Earth Day and more.
Teachers use our web management tools to organize content from MY HERO’s treasury of heroes into unique directories to be shared on school websites and with other classrooms around the world.
The MY HERO Global Learning Circles is a partnership with iEARN. Learning Circles are a place where educators and students from around the world collaborate on the topic of heroes. Classes are matched with others across countries to build skills, engage in conversations and take part in social service learning projects.
MY HERO educators visit sites and conduct work shops to help teach media arts skills to teachers and students at underserved schools and community centers around the world.
To ignite the spirit of heroism, The My Hero International Film and Media Arts Festival and Local Hero Fests showcase positive changemakers.
MY HERO showcases local heroes--filmmakers, artists and activists working towards positive change--at its Hero Fests.
Additionally, the annual My Hero International Film and Media Arts Festival, launched in 2005, brings together media makers at all levels, who explore the theme of heroism through documentary, narrative and experimental short films, virtual reality programs, and art.
The film festival supports the crucial work of real life heroes and passionate filmmakers by celebrating winners at its online festival. Winning films become part of MY HERO’s Screening Room, and are used by teachers to enrich learning in classrooms worldwide.
For over two decades, The My Hero Project has reached over 100 million participants in almost 200 countries and all 50 of the United States. We are the most established and trusted hero resource on the internet. Participants have written 150,000 short guestbook entries, built 50,000 web page stories and contributed 3,000 short films to this living, learning project.
Each year, visitors access about 24 million pages of inspiring media from schools, centers, and homes.
But the numbers don’t tell the whole story, as when educators report that students who show behavioral problems and struggle to communicate effectively shine most on MY HERO projects: “This project-based learning can help build students’ confidence as well as their knowledge and skills.”
MY HERO is also proud to have made a difference in the lives of young students mentored by the media artists and educators from the MY HERO team who have gone on to become successful filmmakers, artists, and leaders. Here’s a quote from director Slater Jewell-Kemker:
“The MY HERO Project taught me the power of storytelling. It’s endlessly inspiring to me as an artist (and at a deeper level, as a human) to see the empowered community of young storytellers that MY HERO has fostered impact their own communities and bring a little bit more love, understanding and tolerance into a world that so badly needs it. - Slater Jewell-Kemker”
Two decades later, the need for The MY HERO Project is greater than ever. Rising rates of depression in teens and young adults show that isolation and stress are potentially exacerbated by social media, increased computer use and economic uncertainty. Access to education becomes critical to advancing universal human rights and protecting our planet.
Advancements in technology, enhanced internet access and the proliferation of mobile devices have the potential to give MY HERO even greater reach to global audiences and to underserved communities looking for hope and inspiration.
Please consider a donation to support this worthy, nonprofit project that brings hope to students and life-long learners around the globe. We welcome your participation and support.