Earth Day – Minute of Mindfulness and Gratitude

Jesse exploring the outdoors.

Earth Day Mindfulness and Gratitude Exercise


A Minute of Mindfulness

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take three deep breaths. Focus your attention on the out-breath.
  • Observe the scents of the spring air. Open your eyes.
  • Scan the landscape for color. Count each color as you see it in your view. Where do you see new life returning to the earth?
  • Note the beauty today that wasn’t here last week. Commit to noticing one new beautiful thing each day for the next week.

A Minute of Gratitude

  • Visualize your favorite place or thing from the natural world. It could be a park, an animal or a tree — whatever comes to mind.
  • Send thoughts of gratitude to this place or element of nature. Fully appreciate this place or creature. Remember how special it is to have this creature or part of the natural world in your life.

Download printable version.

Mindfulness-and-Gratitude.docx (3 downloads)


The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement on 60 Minutes

60 Minutes filming at Rippowam Middle School in Stamford, CT with Jimmy Sapia and Scarlett Lewis

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement being filmed for a segment “Return To Newtown” on 60 Minutes on CBS. The segment was filmed at Rippowam Middle School in Stamford, CT and follows Jimmy Sapia, 6th grade teacher. Rippowam was the first school in CT to pilot the Choose Love Enrichment Program™.

The Choose Love Enrichment Program™ is a FREE Pre-K through Grade 12 social and emotional learning (SEL) program. It includes a powerful formula for Choosing Love which is comprised of the character values – courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion-in-action. This formula can be used in any situation to promote personal empowerment, resilience, connection and compassion. The main theme throughout the program is that although you cannot control what happens to you, you can control how you respond.


Jimmy Sapia teaching the Choose Love Enrichment Program (Stamford Advocate, Oct. 7, 2016)

Decades of research that show the many benefits of SEL including improved grades, test scores, attendance and pro-social behavior. SEL is powerful programming that we can implement in all of our schools to proactively educate our youth and address the issues we are trying to cope with in our society. 

  • High school graduation rates
  • Postsecondary enrollment
  • Postsecondary completion
  • Employment rates
  • Average wages.


  • Dropout rates
  • School and classroom behavior issues
  • Drug use
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Mental health problems
  • Criminal behavior

The Choose Love Enrichment Program™ teaches children 21st century life skills to cultivate a safer, more peaceful and loving world. In a recent survey of our program users, 100% of the respondents said they would use the program again and 100% said they would recommend the program to other educators.

Provide your teachers or school administrators with our website:
For more information, please contact


Is Social and Emotional Learning in Your Schools?

Advocate for Social and Emotional Learning within Your Schools.

Half Our College-Bound Youth will Have a Diagnosable Mental Illness by 18.*

I took my son, JT, on a trip to the Middle East recently. I was uneasy about this and called a friend who spent three months in Jerusalem the previous summer. “Lizzy,” I asked, “Did you feel safe while you were there? See, I’m taking my only remaining son and I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.” She paused for a long while and then responded quietly, “Safer than Sandy Hook?” I immediately felt a weight removed from my shoulders. Right!? Is there any place safer than a first grade classroom, at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, flanked by a firehouse, in a quiet little New England town? I am learning that we must continue to live our lives choosing love over fear. 

How can we fix this epidemic of fear and violence that is occurring in America? 

We look to our President, our politicians and legislators. We demand change. Yet, can they fix it? Actually if you think about it, if they could have, wouldn’t they have already? They too have children attending schools with the same issues of bullying, drug abuse and suicide. They go to movie theaters, shopping malls, nightclubs and airports and want to do so without fear of harm. We must ask ourselves, is the violence we are experiencing a political or legislative issue? It is not. It is an issue of the heart: individuals choosing fear over love, in pain, and wanting to inflict that pain on others. How do we correct this? We must proactively address the pain and suffering of these individuals. How do we do this?

We start by teaching essential 21st century life skills to our children. 

All are born without thought of harming one another, but cultivated in their lifetime into the hurting and desperate people that eventually kill others. We can strengthen them by teaching them the skills and tools they need to overcome difficulties and trauma they will face in their life. This knowledge will help cultivate them into caring, resilient and responsible citizens. This is possible, with social and emotional learning (SEL).
The Child Mind Institute reports that 49.5% of our U.S. college-bound youth will have a diagnosable mental illness by the time they are 18. The majority of this prognosis is anxiety. The average onset age for anxiety in the U.S. is 6 years old. Most of these children, around 70%, will not receive professional help. What are the long term effects of untreated anxiety? Substance abuse, mental illness, suicide, depression, violence, incarceration, etc. 
This alarming situation doesn’t have to be our ‘new normal’.

SEL is the Most Proactive Initiative for Prevention of Mental Health Illnesses.

There are decades of research that show SEL reduces anxiety, substance abuse, mental illness, suicide, depression, violence, incarceration, etc. At this same time, SEL increases grades, test scores, attendance and pro-social behavior.
In fact, SEL is so powerful, if it were a vaccination, we would give it to every individual. It’s not as easy as that but SEL is powerful programming that we can implement in all of our schools to proactively educate our youth and address the issues we are trying to cope with in our society.
YOU can be part of the solution.

Advocate for SEL within Your Schools. 

Provide your teachers or school administrators with our website:
Introduce our f-r-e-e Choose Love Enrichment Program, a PreK though 12th Grade SEL program that teaches children 21st century life skills to cultivate a safer, more peaceful and loving world. 
Thank you for choosing love.
Scarlett Lewis
Chief Movement Officer, Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement

Peace, Love and Music from Maren

Peace Love & Music From Maren an arts & music festival honoring the life of Maren Sanchez. This 16-year-old teenager lost her life too soon to a violent crime committed by a fellow student. The mission of the Maren Sanchez Home Foundation is to empower girls to defend themselves. The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement and The Ana Grace Project have been selected to partner in this event.

We are honored to celebrate the life of Maren Sanchez. 

Please choose love and join us on April 29th.

‘The Compassionate Achiever’ – A New Book by Chris Kukk


Chris Kukk and Scarlett Lewis

We are thrilled to announce our very own Dr. Chris Kukk’s book, “The Compassionate Achiever” published by Harper Collins!!

Chris’ book walks us through society’s need for compassion to survive and how compassion can lead us to greater success and personal happiness in our lives!

Many people think of compassion as weakness when in reality it is strength. The most successful businesses, communities and individuals rely on compassion to achieve. 

Being compassionate is choosing love. This is the absolute BEST book I have read on the subject and it will change your life for the better, guaranteed!

— Scarlett Lewis

Advice from Kukk’s new book, The Compassionate Achiever:

Most of us seem to have an overwhelming urge to fill in the gaps or silences in conversations. One study found that most people break silence after only four seconds, mainly because they’re trying to either overcome a sense of insecurity or satisfy the need for social acceptance. Compassionate achievers, however, have learned to read and understand the gaps between words as important parts of the conversation. Embracing silence provides you, the listener, with an opportunity to refocus your attention. Don’t be in a rush to fill a silence with your own words. You may miss a valuable opportunity to learn.


For decades we’ve been told that we must look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers.

Kukk identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and explains how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises and real-world examples.

The Compassionate Achiever is the handbook of real-world tools necessary for all of us to have more rewarding lives and to create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.

Learn more.