Mother of Sandy Hook victims expands "Choose Love" program in the Bay Area

The mother of a child who died in the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown Connecticut was in the Bay Area on Thursday to speak publicly about a program named in honor of her son. 

“This is very healing for me to be able to go out and prevent similar occurrences from happening,” said Scarlett Lewis.

She was talking about the organization that she formed after her son, Jesse, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The 6 year old was one of the twenty children and six adults who lost their lives during the tragedy that unfolded on Dec. 14th 2012.

Jess Lewis Choose Love Movement sprung from three words Jesse wrote on a chalkboard in the family’s home prior to his death that read nurturing, health and love.

“Teaching kids how to get along, how to have healthy relationships, deep and meaningful connections, skills and tools for resilience, how to manage their emotions and how to manage conflict,” Lewis said. 

The curriculum is based on “social and emotional learning” where “empathy and compassion for others” is one of its key objectives. 

Along with reading, writing and arithmetic, students are also taught social and emotional lessons.
Lewis says the program is based of decades of scientific research… 

“The interesting thing about school safety is that when we think about it we think about it we think about external safety measures. We think about door locks, single point entry, active shooter protocol, but in reality and of course those external safety measures are very important but they do not address the cause.”

Altamont Creek Elementary and Mendenhall Middle School in the Livermore Valley Joint School District is counted about the schools that test ran the “Chose Love” program.

“Livermore started last year with a pilot in two schools that was very successful and then they decided to launch it district wide.”

Lewis explained the program before a crowd at a free event at the Bankhead Theater on Thursday night 

More information about the Jess Lewis Choose Love Movement can be found on the organizations website. 

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