Like most, we at VolunteerSquare.com have spent this weekend glued to our TV’s, trying to make sense of the gut-wrenching developments in Newtown at Sandy Hook Elementary. Like most, we too, are heartbroken. Since Columbine, mass shootings have become a harsh and tragic reality - a sad commentary on the times in which we live. But before Friday, these senseless acts of murder have been something that happened someplace else, hundreds of miles away in another state, another town. As Governor Malloy aptly put it on Friday, “evil visited Newtown” this week. This grief is now ours.
There is very little any of us can do to ease the pain for the victims and many of us are left feeling helpless and frustrated. However we can do something. Reach out to one another. Care for one another. Whether it’s through volunteering in your community or not, we encourage you to just reach out in some way. Visit a neighbor. Check in on a relative. Take the time to slow down and enjoy your loved ones. We see, day-in and day-out, the difference that reaching out can do and it is tremendous.
Just about two years ago, the concept of VolunteerSquare.com emerged out of the sense that our small communities here in Fairfield County have become increasingly isolated. While we may be “plugged in” through our smart phones and social media and all the wonderful technology we enjoy, we wondered if we are, in fact, truly connected to one another emotionally, in the ways that really matter. We believe everyone can give back in some way to their community, whether that community is a family, a circle of friends, a school, an office or a place of worship.
Of course, these small acts and gestures of kindness and connectivity are not a panacea to this very serious and complex issue. In the coming days there will be much discussion and debate about mental health and the “meaningful action” on gun control that President Obama called for. We hope so.
Right now, there is a lot of healing to be done. Our friends at Family Centers in Greenwich tell us that their Trauma Response Team is ready to assist families both in Newtown and here in our area. They are also hosting two panel discussions for parents, caregivers and educators in Darien tomorrow at the Darien Library. The panel will allow adults an opportunity to talk about the event, its impact on children and get advice on how to talk to children from the professional clinical staff at Family Centers.
The talks will be held in the Darien Library’s Community Room at 10 a.m. on Monday 12/17 and on Wednesday 12/19 at 7 p.m. A fund has also been established to help the victims’ families. If you would like to contribute, click here.
Our hearts and our prayers remain with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in Newtown and we wish them peace.