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Sandy Hook: What We Can Do

December 17, 2012

Friends,

It’s the Monday following one of the most horrific events of violence committed against children in recent memory.  Like you, I’ve asked far too many times this past weekend, ‘why?’  We think of those 20 angels and the six guardians who died trying to protect them, and wonder how their families are holding up. While few of us personally knew the victims, we feel their pain, we sense their anguish and sadness, and we want to ease their suffering.  As a human race we are connected to each other.  Scripture states, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer is yes!  We have a responsibility to care for each other, and each of you who are partners in this work called philanthropy understands this responsibility – the word itself means the “love of man.”

I don’t know how we prevent these incidents from occurring. But I believe we must try.There are organizations in our community that work every day to help young people feel connected to the people and the world around them.  They seek to eliminate the isolation that often leads to these acts of violence.  They seek to help young people understand the dangers of bullying.  They serve as a sounding board, and an opportunity for young people to be heard.  They provide mental health services in a comfortable, welcoming, and nonjudgmental atmosphere.  And they teach coping skills so simple arguments don’t escalate into physical altercations.

So I’m asking you to consider a special gift this year to an organization that just may prevent a young person from feeling at such a loss that the only answer is to do harm to themselves or others.

Latin American Youth Center

SMYAL

Northern Virginia Family Services

The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing

Arlington Pediatric Center

Ascensions Psychological and Community Services Inc.

Alternative House

Identity Inc.

Mentoring to Manhood

Sasha Bruce Youthworks

Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center

Child Center and Adult Services

Jewish Social Service Agency

Is this the answer to preventing such atrocious acts in the future?  By itself, probably not. We must practice kindness, caring, and concern in ways big and small. We must lift our voices to let our public servants know that this type of violence is unacceptable and we must exercise every possible measure to protect our most precious resource – our children. “We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true,” the President said. “… but that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”

Today, I’m choosing action. Join me.

Terri Lee Freeman
President, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

To provide immediate support to the families of the Newtown victims, visit the Fairfield County Community Foundation

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