The East Syracuse Minoa Central School District is welcoming back a group called Sweethearts and Heroes to talk about the impact bullying has on schools, neighborhoods, and individuals.

Tuesday’s programs at Pine Grove Middle School will focus on cyberbullying — how to spot it and how to intervene safely.

Students will participate in role-playing to learn how to handle tough situations.

Programs and assemblies will be happening all day, but Pine Grove librarian Sue Kowalski says this is not a one- or two-day effort, this is something they need to work on every day.

One of the program’s speakers, retired Army Sgt. Rick Yarosh says his own experiences have helped him find hope and share it with children in schools.

Yarosh was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. He was deployed to Iraq in December 2005 where he spent nine months before being severely injured by an IED.

Yarosh was burned over 60 percent of his body with second and third degree burns. He had his right leg amputated below the knee, lost both ears, his nose, multiple fingers and lost most of the function in both hands. 

His message of hope is only possible after finding himself in a hopeless situation in Iraq, according to Yarosh.