“As teachers we cannot thank you enough for how amazing you have been to work with. We loved everything we were able to learn about our students and that they were able to learn about themselves through this project. Thank you again! We definitely can’t wait to do this again next year.”
- 6th grade team

Educator Testimonials

- Jen Johnson, Taylorsville High School teacher

- Amber Clayton, Granger Elementary Principal

“As I met with their team and they explained to me the process that they would go through for this project and what the kids would get at the end, I felt a lot of excitement for it. As always I had to start questioning how much time will this take, and all the factors that you have to consider as an administrator to evaluate what comes into my school. The team helps you have all the tools and resources you need to excite the kids about learning. Hands down it’s the best program I’ve ever brought into my school.”

- Mrs.Franklin, Principal

“This has been an amazing program here at the high school. I have seen students who have oftentimes been comfortable hanging in the background I have seen them come to the surface and really share their story. These students' stories matter not just to them, but to their families and to their peers. As students begin to understand that their story can make a difference in the world around them is huge. I don’t think we can measure the impact of that and the impact it will have in their lives. We are so grateful as a high school to take part in this project and I would encourage anyone who is going to have this opportunity to embrace it wholeheartedly.”

- Vice Principal Liddell, High School

“I just had to share this with you. I was cleaning up at the end of the day and found this on one of the tables-It wasn't part of an assignment. I don't know which one of my students wrote it, but I was pretty proud of the truth that this little first grader wrote. It was a sweet and gentle reminder to me of the great influence we have and that my humble tries are enough. Thanks for letting me use the Hero's Journey program this year! My class has been blessed because of it!”

- Ms. Holbrook

“I was pondering the use of the My Hero Journey curriculum in my classroom this last year against the lens of the cultural climate of our society today. I don’t know that I noticed it before as I was teaching, but I noticed it now as I reflected back over what we learned as a classroom, this curriculum is diverse, inclusive, and teaches empathy. As I looked back over the list of suggested readings you’ve done a marvelous job of including books that showcase principles of success, hope, and caring from individuals of all races, all genders, and all communities. As I’m looking through some of my other materials, I’m realizing that’s not common, but yours does that. I only chose a few of the reading selections to share with my students, but I think next time I want to find a way to include more of them, because if I did we would have showcased a variety of things that could have led to better conversations with my students that might have prepared them better for the current turmoil we are seeing. This long note is just to say, thank you for the thought of including diversity of all people and challenges in the materials you present.”

- Email from Teacher

“Amy and the team at My Hero Journey have done an incredible job of helping kids and teenagers preserve and share their special story. The fact is, all stories matter, by bringing this opportunity into the schools, where every child can create, edit, record, and even share his or her own life story. It validates who they are, what they’ve been through, and that they matter. Receiving a published book is definitely celebrated, but there is also great power and value in the process. At all ages, kids are going to be motivated to engage in deeper thinking, collaboration, and evolve as writers, as they develop and document their story. It’s a standard that’s already in the curriculum – to write a personal narrative or a narrative using real events – and with the “My Hero Journey” resources gives educators and students a powerful and meaningful way to do that. I have taught first, second, fourth, and fifth grades. I have never been so excited to teach writing and help students discover and document their stories than I am right now! What’s also amazing is how the questions and tools of “My Hero Journey” match beautifully across the curriculum, for grades K-6 – and beyond. It is definitely not something where teachers need to feel like, “Ugh…this is one more thing I need to do.” This is exciting because it gives teachers a fun, engaging, and valuable tool to do what they already need to do in a way that the students are going to love. It makes the curriculum even more meaningful. Like you and many others, I too am greatly concerned about the increase and impact of bullying and suicides that are taking place in our schools and in our communities. I have no doubt that as students go through this process of writing their story with ‘My Hero Journey’, bridges will be built, lives will be validated and become even more meaningful, and differences will become empowering. There is great power in writing your life story. It means “you matter”. I love it when students write about themselves and then share their story. It’s exciting to have someone else’s eyes light up and say, “Hey! I didn’t know that about you! I like that, too!” Or they say, “Wow! Tell me more!” Connections are made, and the one student, who felt like he or she was the only one experiencing that in life, discovers that they are not alone. That feeling…that connection…is priceless.”

- Chris Crandall, 1st Grade Teacher

“It’s been a really fun experience for me to go through this curriculum and learn about it and experience it. The theme of my classroom has always been super heroes because I’ve wanted kids to feel empowered and that they can make a difference. This curriculum has been a simple and easy way where it is all just handed to me to do.”

- Ms. Holbrook

“As a teacher it was obvious that the students favorite part of this project was having the opportunity to write about themselves. They were able to take everything we were learning and discover how it correlates to them and the story they are writing in their lives right now. That was a cool process to watch unfold.”

- Fourth Grade teacher

“The students' books are in! Emails from parents have been frequent thanking us for doing this project with their child. The students are filled with joy and couldn’t be prouder. Many educators have stopped me in the halls to talk about how special it was to sit down with students and just listen to them share their stories.”

- Tamara Truax, Bellevue International School Seattle

Parent & Community Partner Testimonials

"My daughter just came home from school with her book from your project. She asked if I would read it with her. We laughed and we cried. The most important part of this project for me though was that I learned. I learned so much about my daughter I didn't know and she opened up to me about some really important things. I can't imagine having missed out on that opportunity. I can't say thank you enough for providing the vehicle for me to see my child in a new light. We are forever grateful!!"

- Taylorsville High Parent

“As a parent I also work in the elementary school as an aide. This gave me the opportunity to see how this impacts our students. They were so excited to be able to share their story. It was a lot of fun to watch my own son go through the project. He couldn’t stop talking about it. I snuck a peek at his book before they were delivered and I had to hold back the tears as I read what he had written. To then watch his face as he received his book and experience it through his eyes for the first time was a real treat. We have since read and reread his story many times. I have learned so much about him as we have discussed what he wrote and why. He loves sharing his story with anyone who will let him read it to them!”

- 6th grade parent

“I love these books. Seeing the look on their faces as they look through their books is priceless. That someone stepped up and did something for my child like this for us, means the world.”

- A Mother Said

"I am a mother of a student in a high school you just worked with, and I just received her book last night. I wanted to call and tell you guys how amazed I am at the work you are doing. I’ve read her story and reread it so many times today and I’m just absolutely blown away by how she views herself, how she views the world, and I’m just so proud to be able to read her story. Thank you for all the volunteers and your organization. Thank you so very much!" Later she followed up with this message: "I have always known that my daughter is amazing, confident, and smart, but to know that she views herself that way is the BEST gift I could receive. I absolutely love the part where she said, 'I want people to have more hope and to not give up, drop out, or struggle so much. I hope for more love in the world.' I never heard of your organization until last night. I am always looking for ways to help inspire others and would love to be involved with you. Serving others and community involvement is something that I believe in."

- A Mother's Phone Call

"First, what I saw was amazement among parents, teachers and the children. The reality of a book for each child was hard to grasp. When the children began to open their storybooks, adults involved were somewhat stunned by what they were witnessing. They really didn’t get it until that very moment. Next, the children. With some apprehension, removed the protective covers and stared at their images on the covers of the books. Most did not know how to react with their peers. Some laughed, some covered their mouths in surprise, while some just slumped into chairs or onto the floor to read the greatest story ever. I watched a thin girl pick up her book from the table, walk a few steps as she stared at her image on the cover and then just sink to the floor wishing to do nothing else but read her story. It was like the world had stopped I sank to the floor beside her. She gave me a smile and nothing more was said as we read together... Then many students began to read each others books ....I heard one boy say to his friend, I didn’t know your father died of cancer. Their conversation expanded quickly ..... In the meantime, my little friend finished her book and quickly ran to her classmates to share and read together. When I spotted her sitting on a bench, I walked over and again sat beside her. She asked me if I had read in her book that she was diabetic. Her friend looked with interest as we discussed her fight with the disease. Everyone has a story. A book that features us as individuals tells the world that this is me, this is who I am and this is what I believe. It is my hope that school libraries will one day be filled with the books of its students."

- Sharon Gibbs shares her experience of watching the children open their books for the first time

“We must share that the reactions from the students and their parents were priceless. Initially the students were very shy and almost afraid to look at their books, but they could not resist taking a peek! Then it was full on delight as they looked at their pictures and read their narratives. When one boy was asked if he liked his book he said “No….I LOVE my book”. With this being Mother’s Day weekend, Erie House wanted as many students as possible to be able to share this extraordinary affirmation of family love and support.”

- Suzanne Harris - Chicago Erie Neighborhood House

“I love reveal day, there is nothing in the world like watching kids you have interacted with during the process react to seeing and reading their own books. The pride, the emotions, the confidence are all quite evident on each of their faces and it is at this moment that all volunteers present are privileged to know (and deeply feel) the depth of the huge impact this will have in the direction of these dear one’s own individual paths.”

- Community partner

“As the children page through their books, you can see that so-called ripple effect taking place. Some call out to their friends to share a silly photo or turn to a neighbor to read one of their responses. Others sit more quietly, reading to themselves, smiling at various elements in their storybooks. You can see the pride in their eyes and their confidence levels rising.”

- Parent observing delivery day

Student Testimonials

“I learned that I can focus on myself at the same time as I focus on others. That was a new concept for me. I can’t wait to share my book with my parents. I kept the process a secret from them and I think they are going to be so surprised that I told my story. I am also excited to share this book with a future spouse and kids. I think it will be so powerful for them to see me through these eyes at this age. I learned that I can be a friend and that people actually like me. I didn’t view myself as a good friend before, but as we talked about it and I talked with my classmates I realized that I was a good friend and I can make an impact in others lives.”

- Dallin, age 16

“This book will remind me of all I’ve been through up to this point. I loved how I learned that it’s those struggles that have made me who I am and it reminds me that I am capable of achieving my dreams.”

- Summer, age 17

“The thing I learned about myself was what my gifts and talents are and what I can dream and do in the future of my life. The best part of having a book about myself is that I can see in detail the things I am strong in and also where my weakness is and be reminded of my dreams. When I saw my book for the first time the thing I was feeling in my heart was --”oh wow this is me! It was a book really about me.” I couldn’t believe it was really true that my story was in a book. It helped me know that my story was important and that it needed to be told and it will help others understand who I am. I am so much more than a pretty face and beautiful eyes, my story has so much depth. I can’t wait to share my book with my family.”

- Maria, age 12

“I am not from this country originally. I wanted to have people get to know more about me and my people and so I decided to put my book in our school library so other students could check it out and learn more. My mom had to go to the library to read my book. I think people should share their stories because life is about understanding other people so that we can learn about each other. When we get to know people better we can show up for them better and serve each other in better ways when we really understand.”

- Nour, age 17

“When I first saw my book I was so happy, I couldn’t believe there was someone that would publish my story. I have never written a book about my story before. My friends and family ask me to read it over and over because they can’t believe I shared the things I did. They feel like they know me so much more now than before. It has given me courage to share my story more. When I get scared, or down I find my book and I read it and I remember who I am and the dreams I have.”

- Sarah, age 15