Classroom Lecture

In Partnership with

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A Social Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention Program

Which Draws from Evidence-Based Modalities

32 Lesson Plans 

• Approximately 25 - 45 Minutes Each

• Use Individually or Contiguously 

• Aligned to the Common Core State Standards and
CASEL Frameworks

Made For

• Health & Wellness Class
• Advisory Block
• Zero Period

• After School

• Small School-based Counselling & Support Groups


Using examples critically acclaimed television, comics and film, which children and teens find relatable and accessible, the Coalition’s pop-culture-savvy clinical psychologists and experts have developed a comprehensive, thirty-two lesson plan Curriculum.  


It is rooted in best practices around bullying and violence prevention; we integrate key research findings from the field into our learning objectives and lessons, while also speaking a language that children and teens love.


Topics include: 

• Violence prevention 

• Responding to bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQI+bullying 

• Teaching empathy 

• Resiliency 

• How to seek help 

• Handling anger, depression, anxiety 

• Checking implicit bias 

• Becoming allies for targets

• Conflict resolution 

• Restorative practices

• Healthy personal identity (crucial for ending fear and bias)

• Addressing emotional pain that leads to behaviors such as self-harm, addiction, and risk behaviors 


The Curriculum works to develop students’ social and emotional skills, using techniques based on evidence-based therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). 


Representation matters, and the Heroic Journey Curriculum is available with pop culture references that will resonate specifically with children of color.


Since 2013, our team has presented forms of our work at countless conferences, including at:

• The Inaugural Educational Leadership Series: School Climate and Public Policy Forum, in Partnership with Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and RULER 

• The United Nations Headquarters • NY, NY

• UNESCO Headquarters • Paris, France

• The Anti-Defamation League Cyberbullying Conference • San Diego, CA 

• The International Bullying Prevention Association Conference • San Diego, CA 

• The World Anti-Bullying Forum • Dublin, Ireland


Please see the Efficacy of Using Pop Culture Research Here


© 2020. CASEL.

The Heroic Journey V11
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The Heroic Journey Curriculum is created by a team of renowned clinical psychologists, internationally acclaimed bullying prevention experts, and educators. 


For questions, pricing, and to get this groundbreaking, powerful program into your school, please contact Chase Masterson:



Carrie Goldman is the author of Harper Collins’ Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, winner of the National Parenting  Publication Award and Mom’s Choice Award. ​                 

Goldman has written on childhood development for The NY Times, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, Huffington Post, and other notable publications. She has garnered acclaim for her work on bullying and social conflict, appearing on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, The NY Times, ABC Radio, and others. She gives keynote addresses to companies, universities, and schools about bullying prevention, intervention, and reconciliation; digital citizenship; the academic effects of gender inequality; restorative justice and resolving social conflict.

In Bullied, Goldman brings together leading authorities with accounts of peer victimization to present proven strategies and tools for teaching children how to speak up and carry themselves with confidence; call each other out on cruelty; resolve conflict; and cope with teasing, taunting, physical abuse, and cyberbullying. Goldman received her B.S. from Northwestern and her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. She also serves as Treasurer of Pop Culture Hero Coalition.

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Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, author, TEDx speaker, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Dr. Scarlet is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association for her work on Superhero Therapy.  Her work has been featured on Yahoo, BBC, NPR, Sunday Times, CNN, CW, ABC, The New York Times, Forbes, and many other outlets. She regularly consults on books and television shows, including HBO’s The Young Justice. She was also portrayed as a comic book character in Gail Simone’s Seven Days graphic novel. Dr. Scarlet is the Lead Trauma Specialist at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management in San Diego and with the Pop Culture Hero Coalition.


She authored ten books and has written chapters for fourteen others. Her books include Superhero TherapyHarry Potter TherapyTherapy QuestDark AgentsSuper-Women, and It Shouldn’t Be This Way.



Dr.  LaAdah Demus has been an elementary educator for over a decade. She has Bachelors and Masters degree in Elementary Education and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Over the course of her career, she has written curriculum, lead district professional developments, wrote and been awarded educational grants, recognized as a highly effective educator, created and led educational research, and has published a scholarly article titled “Virtual Coaching in Elementary Schools.” 


Additionally, Dr. Demus is a children’s book author for Yellow Creations, LLC and has published “I Like It Loud: A Tale of Unilateral Hearing Loss.”


Dr. Demus has a wealth of cultural experience from teaching within Title I schools, private schools, and teaching overseas. As the Diversity Content Creator for Pop Culture Hero Coalition, she is dedicated to ensuring brown children are represented with fidelity. 




Ali Mattu is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety. He aspires to bring psychology to everyone, everywhere, by hosting THE PSYCH SHOW, writing about the psychology of science fiction at Brain Knows Better, presenting to the public, and advocating for the brain and behavior sciences through the American Psychological Association. 

Dr. Mattu is an assistant professor at the Columbia University Medical Center. He received his B.A. from the UCLA where he majored in psychology and minored in Asian American studies. Dr. Mattu received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed a doctoral internship at Bellevue Hospital Center and a post-doctoral fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center's Child Study Center.

Dr. Mattu is working with Pop Culture Hero Coalition on Crisis Support Network, being created with Random Acts, To Write Love on Her Arms and IM Alive. Known as a “forward thinker” in the field of psychology, Dr. Mattu was named one of The Mighty’s mental health heroes of 2015.




Dr. Elisabetta Di Minico is a professor who has taught at universities in Italy and Spain; she has been featured at events in New York, Chicago, and San Diego on the use of dystopian themes in film, TV, comics, and literature.She is an expert speaker and author on using fictional stories and characters, which captivate youth, to teach Social Emotional Learning, including healthy, positive values and respectful, interpersonal behavior.




Brandon Matsalia is currently a resident guest-teacher with San Bernardino City Unified School District. H has previously taught at Crafton Hills College, California Baptist University and Aquinas High school. Brandon’s academic interests include African-American literature, critical race theory, composition, and social critical theory. Brandon currently contributes his services to Women in Comics International as a panel moderator and content promoter.




As seen on the cover of the American Psychological Association flagship magazine, The Monitor on Psychology, Dr. Andrea Letamendi is a psychologist, consultant, and TEDx Speaker. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCSD and has trained at UCLA and the West Los Angeles VA Hospital. Dr. Letamendi is the former Director of Clinical Training at Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services and currently serves as UCLA’s Associate Director of Residential Life for Mental Health Training, Intervention and Response, as well as the Interim Director of the UCLA Resilience Center.

Dr. Letamendi’s areas of expertise include multicultural diversity, treatment for trauma and stressor-related disorders, interventions for bullying and cyber-bullying, and psychological resiliency. 


As an educator and mental health advocate, Dr. Letamendi has led seminars and lectures at universities, mental health agencies, and pop culture conventions nationwide. 


Dr. Letamendi’s guest appearances include HLN's Dr. Drew On Call, Al Jazeera English News, and Geek and Sundry. Her TED Talk about Resiliency and Superheroes is available online.




A Navy Veteran, Dr. Eichelberger is a licensed clinical psychologist in California, Hawaii, and Virginia. She was born in San Francisco, CA and raised in San Diego, CA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, spent several summers and winters during her childhood in Venezuela, and studied abroad in Spain. She completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology (health psychology track) at Alliant International University San Diego, CA campus.


Her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral residency were completed at Naval Medical Center San Diego where she also served four years as an active duty clinical psychologist and Lieutenant. Dr. Eichelberger has had the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings including community clinics, veterans affairs, and universities. Her therapeutic philosophy includes incorporating patient-centered multicultural perspectives into treatment in addition to viewing her patients through the lens of whole health/integrative medicine and wellness. 


She currently resides in Northern CA between Endor and Starfleet Academy (aka Marin County). She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, roller skating, creating music, and teaching her cats new tricks.




Dr. Billy obtained a PsyD from Alliant International University in 2014. He is a San Diego based therapist working in the community mental health field, a graduate-level adjunct professor, convention panelist, and writer. His professional interests include masculinity as a culture, the psychology of the horror genre, and the dichotomies of human nature.

He has contributed to Doctor Who Psychology, Star Wars Psychology, Star Trek Psychology, Captain America vs Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology; Supernatural Psychology, and more.




Vanée Matsalia was named 2020 Teacher of the Year and is a GATE certified Demonstration teacher for San Bernardino City Unified School District. She is an integral member of the district’s Rigorous Curriculum Design team; she also serves on the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment committee for the Secondary Education department.


Vanée also works as a freelance journalist for organizations such as and is the west coast coordinator for Women in Comics International. She is a frequent speaker at both educational and pop culture conferences alike.

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In 2005, Scott Palm founded Palmtree Enterprises, through which he provides mentoring services to people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, disability awareness programs for schools and businesses, and resilience and anti-bullying programs for schools. He has been an Ambassador for Prentke Romich Company, the manufacturer of his communication device, since 1992.On the national scene, Scott has participated as a panelist at California State University Northridge’s Center on Disabilities Conference and as a guest at the Pittsburg Employment Conference; he has presented at the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication conference, among other important events. He serves on the planning committee for the Alternative Communication Employment Conference and is a member of the Snohomish County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board.

Scott obtained both an Associate Degree in Business and an Associate Degree in Arts. He has worked for the Washington State Liquor Control Board. An internship with Washington State Congressman John Miller turned into a permanent position that lasted until Congressman Miller retired in 1993.

Scott has lectured both in person and online to students at the University of Washington. He is a strong advocate for continued Department of Health and Social Services funding for AAC devices in Washington State.Scott has cerebral palsy and has lived alone in an apartment in Everett, WA, throughout his entire career, receiving 24 hour support as needed. 

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Dr. Hurwitz spent the first two decades of her career working clinically with at risk children and families with multiple diagnoses and struggles. She's spent the last sixteen years educating future therapists and continues to do pro bono clinical interventions when called upon. Dr. Hurwitz has been invited to speak on several occasions to share her clinical knowledge with professionals, parent groups, and private organizations. 

She's known for her grace under pressure, as well as her strong ability to connect with people to bring calm and help elicit growth. While always volunteering on at least one or two boards, Dr. Hurwitz has received honors and awards for outstanding teaching and regularly is in the top 5% of her educators in her department with student evaluations. 


We are working to raise funding to expand our team and outreach, which will include Dr. Hurwitz, Dr. Janina Scarlet and Dr. Andrea Letamendi on an availability basis.

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Matt Langdon is the founder and chair of the Hero Construction Company, creator of the Hero Round Table (the world's leading conference on heroism), and a board member of Dr. Philip Zimbardo's Heroic Imagination Project. He has spoken to audiences across the United States, Europe, and Australia.




Leslie Meiselman has twenty-one years of experience as a writer, editor, and project manager with expertise developing educational web-based, print, and software products for the K-12 market. She has taught all subjects at the elementary and middle school level.




Dr. Kyle Erwin has worked for over 15 years as a public school teacher, special education teacher, school administrator, and psychotherapist.  In these positions, he has worked primarily with teens and families to address difficulties related to autism spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Dr. Erwin has also worked extensively to aid children and parents with school based issues related to social emotional struggles. He has also aided teachers and psychotherapists to improve school programs in order to best meet the individual needs of adolescents.  This has included technology integration programs, teacher training, social skills training programs, and regularly chairing visiting committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


He holds a bachelor's degree in History Education from Northern Arizona University, master's and doctorate degrees in Education from the University of Southern California, and a master's in Marital and Family Therapy from Alliant International University.

Curriculum Video Showcase