Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a mission to ensure that every child has access to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in their classrooms and to help facilitate this teaching within their families, schools and communities. We do this in honor of Jesse and to spread the message he left on his family’s kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died – “Nurturing, Healing Love.”
Founder, Scarlett Lewis has personally dedicated her life’s work to sharing Jesse’s message to make a positive impact on our world and by supporting the efforts of increasing the awareness and benefits of SEL by “Choosing Love.”
Social and Emotional Learning
Long-term studies have shown that social and emotional learning (SEL) is more important than academic learning to a student’s success, academically and in life. All students deserve to receive SEL in their classrooms based on the evidence compiled from decades of research showing the tremendous life-long benefits of SEL mentally, physically and emotionally for students. In fact, SEL is the most powerful and proactive mental health initiative we have. All evidence points to SEL being a necessary component of our children’s education and a powerful solution to the issues we face in our society today.
“Although we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how to respond. Children can learn to choose a loving thought over an angry one. When a child realizes that they have the power to positively impact themselves as well as those around them, it is empowering and perpetuates their positive actions and interactions.” –Scarlett Lewis, Founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ and Jesse’s mother
Founder Scarlett Lewis’ six-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was murdered in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, alongside 19 of his classmates, and six educators in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
Scarlett found out shortly after the tragedy that Jesse used his final moments to heroically save nine of his classmates. When the shooter stopped to reload, in a true act of courage and love, Jesse yelled to his classmates to run while he stayed by his teacher’s side.
Before Jesse’s funeral, Scarlett found a message he wrote on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died, “Norturting Helinn Love” (Nurturing, Healing Love). These words are not in the vernacular of a six-year-old and were phonetically spelled because Jesse was in first grade and just learning to write. However, they are in the definition of compassion across all cultures. Love is as necessary to our healthy existence as food and water and is a universal need that connects all of humanity.
Scarlett realized the solution is simple. If we infuse our classrooms with love and teach children how to give, and receive love, they won’t want to harm one another and could actually add to a more peaceful and loving world.
Using Jesse’s example of courage, Scarlett decided to become part of the solution to the violence we are experiencing today and started a worldwide movement to choose love. Following the tragedy, Scarlett asked herself two questions: How could something like this happen? What can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again? After researching the shooter’s background,
Scarlett realized this violent act started with an angry thought in the young man’s head that was responsible for the mass shooting. She also understood that an angry thought can be changed. Scarlett set out to get Jesse’s message into classrooms with the understanding that if the shooter knew how to give and receive “nurturing healing love,” that the tragedy would never have happened.
Scarlett started the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ to foster the understanding that with the right tools, we can educate and encourage individuals to choose loving thoughts over angry thoughts.
“Nurturing, Healing Love” (the Formula for Choosing Love)
The three words first-grader Jesse Lewis wrote on his kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died,
“Nurturing, Healing Love,” serve as the foundational values for the organization.
These words, “Nurturing, Healing Love”, are in the definition of compassion across all cultures. The meaning of each of the words form a profound and powerful formula for choosing love:
1. Nurturing means loving kindness and gratitude.
2. Healing means forgiveness.
3. Love is compassion in action.
When you practice these three character values, in that order, you are choosing love.
Courage is also a core value, as Jesse courageously saved nine of his classmates’ lives before losing his own. Courage is an overarching concept as it takes courage to be grateful, especially when things aren’t going your way. It takes courage to forgive, especially when the person who hurt you isn’t sorry and it takes courage to step outside your own universe of busyness and pain to help others.
The Formula for Choosing Love