When the Heroes and Cool Kids non-profit mentoring program was first established, co-founders Bruce Harper and Susan Rudolph had no idea of the impact they would have on local students. But 12 years later, the organization's success has been recognized at the county level.
At the Heroes and Cool Kids Feb. 18 board meeting, County Executive Dennis McNerney named the program the Bergen County "Organization of the Year" and Harper, a former New York Jets football player, the "Person of the Year" for 2009-2010.
The Heroes and Cool Kids program uses the services of current and former professional athletes and high profile amateur athletes to train and educate high school students on important leadership skills. Read the rest of the article


The (201) Magazine provided a sneak peek of the above article. Click here to see some pictures that were taken at the event.


A student leadership team from Glen Ridge High School visited all Ridgewood Avenue School fifth graders Jan. 28 to emphasize the importance of sportsmanship versus bullying.
The team divided into groups, and each group visited a fifth grade class to discuss the characteristics of a bully, identifying bully behavior, myths and facts about bullying and definitions of bullying versus sportsmanship. A particular emphasis was placed on Internet bullying. Their message to each class was strong and simple. They shared personal experiences and came up with problem-solving scenarios.
The "Heroes and Cool Kids Program" began operating during the 1998-99 school year as a not-for-profit organization based in New Jersey. The program utilizes the services of current and former professional athletes whose personal life experiences enable them to train high school student leaders. Read the rest of the article


Heroes & Cool Kids is proud to team up with Vonage and their Vonations goodwill program to help celebrate H&CK’s second decade of making a difference in the lives of young people.
Heroes & Cool Kids, established by former New York Jet (NFL) Bruce Harper in 1998, is a New Jersey-based not-for-profit organization that involves current and former professional athletes in the training of high school students to be leaders in their community. The high school students, in turn, mentor students in the elementary grades focusing on making positive lifestyle choices. Topics addressed include sportsmanship, bullying, and drug, alcohol and tobacco use prevention. The program operates in 44 school districts throughout the state, reaching 9,000 students during the academic year.
“I believe that mentoring is a key component in life, and kids can really benefit from positive role models in their lives,” says Joseph Dyer, Senior Manager of Facilities at Vonage. “Life can be tough, and having someone who might be able to provide insight or advice is something that everyone needs and should be highly valued.”
A number of leaders in the local sports world, including Keith Elias (former New York Giant), Tim Regan (Major League Soccer player), Lindsay Berra (writer for ESPN the Magazine) and others, serve as the “Heroes” during the three part conference series at which student leaders receive their training. For the first time this year, Vonage will host the conference series at their Holmdel location. Vonage will donate its 8,000-square-foot facility, which includes high-tech audio-visual equipment.
“We felt this was a great opportunity to help out and inspire kids,” Dyer says.
Vonage is a leading provider of digital phone services with 2.6 million subscriber lines across the nation.
Vonage will host Conferences on February 10 and March 18 and 25. For more information about the Heroes & Cool Kids program call Susan Rudolph at 201-641-0699 or e-mail to pros@heroesandcoolkids.org.

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