Southington group organizes to help Newtown

In the first 72 hours since the unspeakable tragedy in Sandy Hook, the people of Southington, (and throughout the United States), have responded with great shock, anxiety and sadness, launching a tidal wave of compassion, inspiring a compelling need to do something meaningful to help the people of Newtown and to help the parents, teachers and children within our own community cope with and work through the aftermath of these events.

Last week, SouthingtonSOS, a group of 20 plus representing the various community sectors, and whose mission is to bring Southington together in times of need, met to discuss a plan of action that can be offered to residents with a variety of options on how they may help Newtown and our own citizens through the critical period ahead.

“While SouthingtonSOS will continue to meet”, said chairman/coordinator John Myers, “the group identified some specific and tangible ways to support the folks of Newtown as well as our own community.”

Sending monetary donations to Sandy Hook School Support Fund, a Fund that has been set up to provide services to families and communities that have been affected, through United Way of Western CT.  Donations may be sent directly to Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470, or locally, to Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o United Way of Southington, PO Box 546, Southington, CT 06489.

Sending monetary donations to The Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut which will cover college costs for students who currently attend the elementary school, as well as siblings of those killed in the assault and dependents of teachers and other adults who also lost their lives, who are admitted to UCONN in the future.  Send checks to UCONN Foundation at 2390 Alumni Drive Unit 3206, Storrs, CT 06269-3206 or go to www.friends.uconn.edu/sandyhook.

Other ways to contribute include, but are not limited to, Newtown Rotary Sandy Hook Memorial Fund, Operation Snuggle Newtown and other individual funds that have been set up for victims and families. Locally, these may be dropped off at The YMCA at 29 High Street in Southington.

Several non-monetary means of support were also highlighted, including organizing a Green & White Day, Sending Cards, Lighting Luminaries, sending Snowflakes, wearing ribbons, conducting moments of silence and attending prayer vigils. SouthingtonSOS spent a considerable amount of time discussing and identifying support services within our community as well as resources for parents.  Some resources identified included: Encouragement of parents to talk directly with their school’s administration and guidance departments. Local interfaith clergy are a terrific resource for guidance and comfort. There are also resources through Southington’s dedicated Youth Services Department in the Municipal Center. They will be around the holiday week. 860-276-6281.

Several links for parents and families: http://www.cga.ct.gov/coc/newtown.htm, the Connecticut Commission for Children, in partnership with others, has developed a website to assist caregivers in talking with children about the school shooting, http://www.aacap.org , see “Facts for Families” and “Disaster Resource Center,” http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/terrorism,  http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/early-childhood-trauma, http://www.-nctsn.org/content/psychological-first-aid, Child Traumatic Grief Speaker Series and http://learn.-nctsn.org/course/view.php?id=27, http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/traumatic-grief/what-childhood-traumatic-grief

In the coming weeks, SouthingtonSOS will continue to meet to provide the community with updated information and resources.  Suggestions and comments are welcome.  Please contact or send to John Myers at 860-621-8737 or jmyers@sccymca.org.

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