Greg Vaughn (left) and Fred Holmes (right) have worked together since they began their friendship in first grade. Greg and Fred developed the In Search of the Heroes collection over a ten year period. It is now in over 25,000 schools across the U.S..
"We're not in search of the heroes of the past, we're in search of the heroes of today and tomorrow--our kids," Vaughn said. The character education that In Search of the Heroes provides is what President Clinton asked schools to teach in his 1996 State of the Union Address. In many states, character education has already become an important part of school curriculum.
The collection reaches over 4 1/2 million children each year. Each story takes a student from today and catapults them on a magical journey through the library and into time to meet heroes of the past. In those adventures, students learn history along with compassion, courage, perseverance and many other distinct attributes. "We get letters everyday from teachers around the country who are excited by the way kids check out all the library books after our movies are shown," Vaughn said. "Letters from parents and children tell us how our films have inspired the children to be a hero--just like the ones we present." He emphasizes that the character traits and values threads that run through the stories are sometimes the most important part of his films.
Forget Me Not: The Anne Frank Story addresses tolerance with a neo-Nazi youth from today meeting Anne Frank. Other films address determination, honesty and bravery. "We are in a time in the world where loyalty, respect, and truthfulness have been lost. It is important to teach and encourage the leaders of tomorrow that these are the things that will make a difference in our world," Vaughn said.