When I woke up Friday morning I was excited to start my day. I had plans and the day was going to be really fun. My excitement soon turned to horror when I was told to turn on the local news. "Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary" was what I read under the helicopter shot of the school.
I didn't understand what was going on. An elementary school? What could elementary school children ever do to someone that would cause this to happen? I thought of my brother, who is in Kindergarten and is the sweetest kid you will ever meet. How could someone want to hurt him? I stood there, shocked, with tears in my eyes. I don't know anyone who attended that school, but that does not mean that I care about them only enough to say "How sad." and go about my day.
Then we started to learn more details, some true, some not. I'm still not sure that we know the whole story. But one of the things that was the biggest shock to me was that the shooter was twenty. I'll be twenty this month. How could someone my age do something so horrific? I felt sick.
Honestly, I do not care about the details of the shooter. He does not deserve to get the recognition he knew that the media would give him. None of the horrible people that murder do. But unfortunately there are all of these stories about the shooters and why they did it and who they were. I care about the victims, their families. I want to hear about them.
Immediately I started thinking of ways that I would be able to help these families. While I do not understand what they are going through, I do know that they are innocent families and they did not deserve to lose their babies. No one deserves to go through this. I thought about all of the Christmas presents that they must have already bought their children. I felt more and more sick.
I contacted a group of my fellow Quinnipiac University students that I have done volunteer work with before to see if they would help me plan a benefit dinner to help raise money for the families that were affected by the tragedy. Lots of students were more than willing to help.
I have never seen a community come together so rapidly. There are litterally thousands of people who are donating, organizing events, and looking for ways to help. It has been incredible to see how much this Connecticut community cares about others.
The next day I contacted businesses to see who would be willing to donate things that we will need to make our fundraiser successful, and I was very surprised that I found what I needed on the very first day. I thought that I would have to search for businesses for at least a few days.
I have been so overwhelmed with pride for Connecticut over the past few days. I realize what an amazing state we live in. When tragedy strikes, we stand together. We are a community of caring, a community of hoping, and a community of strength.
As I said before, I could never know what these families are going through, but I know that I want to help them in every way that I can, and I know that the entire state of Connecticut does, too.
With this, I ask you to please attend my event. Every penny will go to Newtown Youth and Family Services to help cover the cost of grief counselling for the families that were affected. I know that with your help, we can make this event a success and help these families.
Where: The WoodWinds
29 Schoolground Road
Branford, Connecticut 06405
When: Thursday January 3, 2013 7pm-10pm
What: A benefit dinner hosted by Connecticut college faith groups.
Why: To raise money for families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy
Cost: $20 includes all food and beverages
Please purchase your tickets in advance at www.hopeforsandyhook.com
The venue and food have been donated by Woodwinds in Branford, CT.
Our other doners include Brothers Restaurant in Wallingford, CT and Fantasia in North Haven, CT.
If you own a business that would like to be involved, we are looking for desserts to be donated.
Any questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org