When Scarlett Lewis lost her six-year-old son, Jesse, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, she decided to dedicate her life to making something positive out of that indescribable tragedy that also took the lives of 19 classmates and six educators.
“I wanted to be part of the solution, because I knew that what happened to Jesse was 100 percent preventable,” said Lewis. “I knew that if the shooter had had the skills and tools to give and receive nurturing, healing love, because, by the way, they’re not innate within us, the tragedy would never have happened. And there is a way, an easy way, actually to teach kids. It’s called social and emotional learning. So, I’ve literally dedicated my life to offering a free Social and Emotional Learning program.”
The initiative is called The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Enrichment Program, a free, pre-K through 12th grade, evidence-based program. According to the program’s website, the mission is “to ensure that every child has access to Social and Emotional Learning in their classrooms and to help facilitate this teaching within their families, schools and communities.”
On June 30, the Hearts on Fire benefit concert celebrates the life of Jesse Lewis, who would have turned 13 on that day, while raising awareness for The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement at the Ives Concert Park in Danbury. John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band will headline the event, which also features singer-songwriter Doug Allen, The Spadtastics, and Denise Daniels singing the “National Anthem.” The benefit begins at 3 p.m. and includes food trucks, kids’ activities, and a raffle.