John Visits the Heroes of Paradise


In October I had the privilege of singing at the California State Reading Conference in Sacramento. At the conference, CRA honored the Teacher Heroes from Paradise. This brave group of teachers received a standing ovation for their heroism during and after the November 8, 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed over 10,000 homes and claimed 85 lives. At a time when uncertainty, instability and loss were everywhere, the Paradise teachers courage and commitment brought love and a measure of stability to the children they serve.

I was invited to Paradise to sing with the students and teachers there and to share BoPH’s messages of hope, collaboration, and friendship. The trauma and PTSD caused by the fire has touched everyone in the area. In spite of the losses, the community has come together in powerful ways to begin the process of rebuilding and renewal. I was warmly welcomed at schools and we sang and laughed together. Cris Dunlap, the principal at Pine Ridge Elem School in Paradise (pictured above) hopes that we can work together to help students connect and learn about their peers around the world. We have invited Paradise to collaborate with BoPH clubs on our newest project, “You’re Not Alone: How We Help Each Other Through Difficult Times.”  We hope to cultivate and grow this new friendship.


  1. Lana Bennett says

    What a bittersweet gift to see that you had sung at the Paradise, CA schools and in Sacramento. My parents retired to Paradise in the seventies and our family celebrated many happy holidays there. Then I landed a job in Paradise at a local hospital and a part time teaching position at Chico State Univ. in 1989. My family lived there for three years and my son, Gabriel attended the Middle School. We have fond memories of Paradise and we’re devastated by that fire. What a small world to find a new New York friend has helped to brighten their new beginnings. Thank you, John and BOPH!

Post a comment