Stories of Sandy Hook touch home

Monday, May 27, 2013
Gifts from Sandy Hook Democrat Photo/Melonie Roberts Stephanie Erway recently wrote a letter to the teachers and students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., expressing her concern and support for the school following news of the violent tragedy that left 20 students and six teachers and administrators dead. The teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary and Yolie Moreno, acting principal, were so touched by the gesture they sent Stephanie a package containing art supplies and writing materials.

When the heartbreaking news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings broke on Dec. 14 2012, people across the nation mourned the senseless loss of so many young lives and the heroes that tried to save them. The tragedy rocked the foundations of schools and communities around the world, begging the question: How can we protect our children?

Mired in grief, Newtown, Conn., was soon overwhelmed with an outpouring of loving support from people all over the world. One of those was Cassville Middle School student Stephanie Erway.

Erway wrote a letter expressing her concern and support for the students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary following the horrific act of violence that took place on that winter day.

"I heard about your school shooting and wanted you to know we're praying for you," Stephanie wrote. "I heard in art class what happened so to cheer you up I wanted to send you a note...Maybe you could do an activity where you have all the kids draw a picture or write a note and the best declared note or/and picture would be sent back. I would love that.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

P.S. I hope you all can get through this."

That note of encouragement touched the hearts of Sandy Hook's teachers and Yolie Moreno, who has been volunteering her time at Newtown Municipal Center to document the letters that continue to arrive. Together, they collected items and sent Stephanie a care package in return, filled with writing and art supplies, along with a T-shirt emblazoned with "Bring Your Love... to Newtown. Healing through the arts."

The package contained two sketchpads, gel inks, crayons, paintbrushes, a design by the numbers print, a watch and notes of appreciation. It also included a hand painted "love rock," and a note telling Stephanie she would always be loved.

The package also contained a Sasqwatch, a watch made by Moreno in the shape of a bare foot.

Stephanie was thrilled to receive the gifts in response to her note.

"This is pretty neat," she said. "I love art."

The video can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M--NqepsIE.

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