Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Superheroes in Training

by Kelly McConnaughey
C/O superherotraining.org

  Over my holiday break, I met up with the ever-genuine and wholeheartedly joyful Michael Mallon about his Superhero Training Academy initiative. Our friendship is a rather odd one, having met in an undergrad poetry course back in 2003(?) and have since kept in touch over email. I suppose that might not be too unique anymore, but considering that I was an relatively late adopter of Facebook, and stories varied from turkeys loose in classrooms and pictures like this:

A fellow traveler of his from a Patch Adams tour in Peru. How awesome, right?
 So anyway, you clearly want to know Michael too and if you don't you're obviously lying.

At any rate, Superhero Training Academy is a great way to get kids (and adults) involved in the often-discussed, rarely-researched concept of Whole Self Literacy. This paper from New Zealand provides a decent introduction to the Whole Self Literacy idea.

Achieving a self-concept through Whole Self Literacy can prepare students for lives of service, opening their eyes to the place where each child fits in the world, and what they can offer to improve it.Throughout the academy, participants identify their strengths and weaknesses, and work to overcome their weaknesses with the help of tropes and archetypes specific to the Superhero world, such as sidekicks. (An alternative link for "trope" would be this. Say goodbye to the next two weeks of your waking life)

Want to hear a Chuck Norris joke?
Jonathan Brandis is dead.

After extensive work getting it off the ground, Michael's volunteer spirit and that of his colleagues have helped to reach children from the suburbs of Detroit, MI to the Red Cloud Indian School of Pine Ridge, SD. If you'd like to know more about the initiative, would like to help, or get information about bringing the academy close to your home, leave a comment below or contact the Superhero Training Academy directly.

PS: Michael wanted to know if I had written any poetry recently. I hadn't. BUT, I do now remember that one of my poems from that class was published in this magazine in 2007(?) on page 7. See page 34 for more "about me." Yes, they spelled my name incorrectly. Whoops.

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