Category Archives: Press Releases

SEL Awareness Week to be Celebrated with Video Project

A Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement Initiative

Connecticut’s Social and Emotional Learning Awareness Week February 7-14, 2017

Jesse Lewis Choose Love

We invite you to celebrate and promote Social and Emotional Learning by creating a video that shows how you Choose Love. 

Click to download PDF

What does the Formula for Choosing Love or the power of the message of Choosing Love mean to you and your students? How do your students practice and demonstrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in their classrooms and in their lives? Tell us your story through videos and/or artwork. This can be done as a school or individual classroom project.

Last year students from schools all over Connecticut created beautiful and powerful ‘Choose Love’ murals that were presented at an event hosted by US Senator Blumenthal at Quinnipiac University. These later were formally shown in an installation in our Nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C.

 

This year we would like to post videos and artwork from across the country on our social media pages. These might also be shared on local news and national television so please indicate that you have received proper parental permission.

We can’t wait to see what you and your students come up with! We want to share all of the wonderful things you are doing to spread the message of Choosing Love!

 

Participate in this important week by sending your videos and artwork to us at info@jesselewischooselove.org.

Thanks for Choosing Love! 

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement Named “2016 Top-Rated Non-Profit” by GreatNonprofits

The GreatNonprofits seal is the second most trusted rating seal, after the Better Business Bureau*

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement  has been named a “2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews of charities and nonprofits.

“We are honored to be named a 2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit,” said Scarlett Lewis, Founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. “We are proud of all our accomplishments this year especially the launch of the Choose Love Enrichment Pilot Program in almost 100 classrooms across the country in Arkansas, Connecticut, New Mexico and Hawaii,”

Lewis continued, “We believe every child is entitled to access to this life changing and even life-saving education therefore we encourage all educators to access the Enrichment Program through our website now although the official launch will be next year.”

The program is unique in that it teaches children that they have to power to choose love in any situation using the character values of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action.  Students learn to acknowledge their feelings with acceptance and non-judgment and explore ways to change an angry thought into a loving one.

The Top-Rated Nonprofit Award is the based on the 5-Star rating and reviews that The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement received from volunteers, donors and aid recipients including:

  • The work of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation is essential especially now as students seek the skills to stand for compassion and understanding rather than hostility and blame.
  • Something that is so absent in the school systems, yet such a huge part of social learning, how to choose a loving thought over a negative thought, or a hateful thought. It is so simple and yet so powerful. You can change your day, your week, your life, by just choosing loving thoughts.
  • The message of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation is so simple, and that’s what makes it so powerful. Jesse and Scarlett and JT Lewis each have their own powerful story of courage that resonates so deeply and touches your heart and makes you want to make yourself and your community and your world a better place.
  • As an education professional who has been working with children for 20 years I can say with much confidence that the Choose Love program is much needed. The simple message it teaches has a huge ripple effect around the world. We want children to grow up to be the best they can be, both inside and outside.

 

 

“Primary Obverse” by Marco Gallotta and Bruno Big at One Art Space Gallery

A big thanks to One Art Space Gallery owner Dan Giella, one of our choose love enrichment team members, for hosting this wonderful fundraiser. Please see the press release below.

one art space exhibit art

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 “Primary Obverse” by Marco Gallotta and Bruno Big at One Art Space Gallery

Portraiture as Subject: A Unique Exhibition Featuring Visionaries

Opening Reception June 17, 2016 (6-9pm) On View Until June 27th, 2016 23 Warren St, New York, NY 10007

 “Primary Obverse”, is a two-person exhibition featuring individual and collaborative works from Marco Gallotta and Bruno Big that investigate the power and importance of the portrait. This exhibition includes artwork that features change-makers, everyday heroes and people who have influenced their communities and our world in positive and powerful ways. 

 Although working in different media, Gallotta’s paper-cutting technique along with Big’s graffiti style and engraving work seamlessly together. Through their work, Gallotta and Big celebrate the importance of the icons and influencers they depict. Gallotta’s signature paper cutting technique uses geometric shapes, such as circles, triangles and rectangles. The rigid shapes become irregular and organic, enriched with soft curves alternating with sharp angles. Big uses contemporary techniques such as graffiti, digital illustration and experimental printmaking. “Primary Obverse” is a concept in which the observer discovers the commonality among each of the icons.

 A percentage of “Primary Obverse” proceeds will be donated to the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a commitment to reach students, educators and individuals, nationally and internationally, and provide them with a simple, yet profound formula for choosing love. http://www.jesselewischooselove.org/

 Marco Gallotta is an Italian-born, New York City-based artist. He received his associate’s degree in fashion illustration and a bachelor’s degree in general illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. He grew up in Italy, before moving to New York City in 1998. His artistic craft consists mostly of paper-cutting techniques, drawing, painting, and printmaking. Today, Marco resides with his wife and daughter in New York City, where he finds inspiration in its urban-scape, distinct artistic facets, and diverse population. He currently practices his craft in an intimate studio workshop in West Harlem. His vast expertise in mixed media techniques, including drawing, painting, and printmaking, add to his work a unique combination of artisan craftsmanship and graphic sensibility. Watercolors, inks, and graphite are applied to photographs that are then cut out. Layers of cut-out photographs,paper and other materials are  strategically overlapped to create ingenious compositions. www.marcogallotta.net

 Born in 1980, Bruno Big lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After training there as an advertising creative and an engraver, in 2006 he moved to Barcelona, where he studied at The University of Barcelona Faculty of Fine Arts while also perfecting his graffiti style. A multi- talented artist, he then returned to Rio where, even in the midst of a thriving street art scene, he soon made a name for himself as a street artist while also exhibiting in galleries – all this alongside his continuing work in advertising. Bruno is an explorer, forever seeking out new ways to create. Much of Big’s works has been created for campaigns with brands such as Coca- Cola, Farm, Brazil Canal, RedBull, Rider, Nike and others. With Nike, Big has a long-standing partnership. Big has developed many projects and products for the brand and his largest to date was developing the Neymar Jr. Collection  “Ousadia and Alegria” for Nike.  Big painted a giant canvas of 1,000 shoeboxes to publicize the “Ousadia Alegria” launch, delivering the first pair to Neymar Jr. personally. The Ousadia and Alegria collection, which includes training apparel and two Nike Sportswear footwear silhouettes are available at nike.com.

 At present, Big chooses to dedicate more time painting. www.brunobig.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qQAn-wmUDM

  Curator Monica Watkins is a successful Ford model, director, artist and philanthropist. In 2008, she combined her passion for helping others and her understanding of the power of art and created the Foundation for Art in Motion. She has curated an extensive amount of exhibitions, including ‘Love+Serve Haiti’ at The Be Human Gallery in Houston, TX and at Rare Gallery, Bold Hype Gallery and Leigh Wen Fine Art Gallery in NYC, ‘The Art Of Beauty Experience’ at The Emmanuel Fremin Gallery and ‘Rebirth of a Nation’ at Art Basel Miami 2011 (Art Now Fair at The Catalina Hotel). Monica is also the founder of international projects Batey 106 Project, Love + Serve Haiti, Art Day Celebration, Project Hong Kong, and others.

 Additionally, Watkins is a founding member of advocacy curatorial team Curators for a Cause and is the Co-founder and Creative Director of anti-trafficking New York based platform Beauty for Freedom. http://bit.ly/1NQYVnh

 One Art Space seeks to provide local and international, contemporary artists engaged in wide- range of artistic expression, a space and a targeted audience to showcase their art.

www.oneartspace.com

 Press Contact

monicawatkins@gmail.com

832-741-4657 Filmmaker | Artist | Founder of Art In Motion | Co-Founder Beauty for Freedom
CTM Sisters Productions
INSPIRING OTHERS. CULTIVATING MOVEMENTS. NURTURING GREATNESS.

2nd Annual Social and Emotional Awareness Week February 7-14, 2016

Malloy proclaimation

Governor Dan Malloy announced the 2nd Annual Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Awareness Week from February 7 – 14, 2016 in the state of Connecticut.

The SEL Awareness Week is a Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement initiative to bring attention to the importance of teaching children core competencies and skills, beyond academics, that can help them thrive physically, mentally and emotionally. Social and Emotional Learning is a proactive and preventative mental health initiative that has been proven to reduce anxiety, addiction and behavioral issues while increasing student performance, physical and emotional well-being.

 

“Although we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how to respond,” said Scarlett Lewis, Founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. “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.”

 

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is encouraging educators to take part in SEL Awareness Week by asking their students to create art projects based the theme of “Choosing Love”. Images of work can submitted to info@jesselewischooselove.org or posted on the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Instagram page. Six schools have been selected to present their murals at the Quinnipiac University event. 

 

The Proclamation reads as follows:

Whereas, addressing the complex mental health needs of children, youth, and families today is fundamental to the future of the State of Connecticut; and

Whereas, children’s mental health disorders affect children of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds, and an estimated 13-20 percent of our nation’s youth can be diagnosed with a mental health disorder in a given year; and

Whereas, social and emotional learning is an increasingly important process for learning fundamental life skills, including how to recognize and mange emotions, how to deal with oneself and others in a positive relationship, and building compassion and empathy for others; and

Whereas, social and emotion learning can have a positive impact on school climate by promoting academic achievement, social awareness, and emotional growth; and

Whereas, by bringing attention to social and emotional learning, we raise awareness for its importance in the growth and development of our nation’s children; now

Therefore, I, Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of the State of Connecticut, do hereby proclaim February 7-14, 2016 as Social and Emotional Learning Awareness week in the State of Connecticut.

 

Official Statement Proclaims June 28th through July 7th “Social and Emotional Learning Awareness Week”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2015; CONTACT: Judith O’Connor (Judith@jesselewischooselove.org); (203) 481-8773

SEL-thumbGovernor Dannel P. Malloy released an Official Statement proclaiming the week of June 28th through July 7th as “Social and Emotional Learning Awareness Week” in the state of Connecticut. Social and emotional learning (SEL) can be taught in schools in addition to reading, writing and math; while SEL teaches children how to get along and how to mange their emotions it also fosters personal responsibility and resiliency. Social and emotional learning is a proactive and preventative mental health initiative that has been proven to reduce addiction and behavioral problems while increasing student performance and physical and emotional well-being.

The Proclamation reads as follows:

Whereas, addressing the complex mental health needs of children, youth, and families today is fundamental to the future of the State of Connecticut; and

Whereas, children’s mental health disorders affect children of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds, and an estimated 13-20 percent of our nation’s youth can be diagnosed with a mental health disorder in a given year; and

Whereas, social and emotional learning is an increasingly important process for learning fundamental life skills, including how to recognize and mange emotions, how to deal with oneself and others in a positive relationship, and building compassion and empathy for others; and

Whereas, social and emotion learning can have a positive impact on school climate by promoting academic achievement, social awareness, and emotional growth; and

Whereas, by bringing attention to social and emotional learning, we raise awareness for its importance in the growth and development of our nation’s children; now

Therefore, I, Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of the State of Connecticut, do hereby proclaim June 28-July 5, 2015 as Social and Emotional Learning Awareness week in the State of Connecticut.


Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Office of the Child Advocate released a report that found SEL could prevent future incidences. Scarlett Lewis, mother of Jesse McCord Lewis, 6, who was one of the victims at Sandy Hook requested the proclamation in honor of Jesse’s birthday, June 30th. Lewis has traveled the world since the tragedy spreading a message Jesse left on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died, ‘Nurturing Healing Love.’ The words aren’t in the vernacular of a 6 year old and were phonetically spelled because he was just learning to write in first grade. But Lewis says these three words are in the definition of compassion across all cultures and are the foundational concepts of social and emotional learning. She feels that one solution to school violence and mental health issues is to teach social and emotional learning in our schools.

“Almost half of our youth, 49.5 percent, will be diagnosed with a mental illness by the time they are 18” Lewis said, citing a study by the Child Mind Institute. “The average age for the onset of anxiety is 6 years old and the majority of these kids will not get professional help so they will struggle alone. Social and emotional learning helps kids understand their emotions and they are better equipped to deal with them. Children who are exposed to social and emotional learning will be less likely to be overcome by their emotions and turn to drugs or alcohol or even violence.”

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation was created in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy to cultivate awareness about the importance of social and emotional learning for our school children and to work with professional educators to develop enrichment programs to teach children these essential life skills. Dr. Chris Kukk, the Director of the Compassion, Creativity and Innovation Center and the Kathwari Honors Program at Western Connecticut State University is on the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation Board of Directors and has met with Governor Malloy as well as President Obama to discuss this issue. “Peer reviewed research in neuroscience over the last decade clearly shows that SEL,” according to Dr. Kukk, “is the foundation upon which many aspects of cognitive development rest.  SEL has proven to help not only raise academic scores but improve dropout and school suspension rates as well as reduce incidences of school violence.  With a $7-11 return on every $1 spent, effective SEL programs are bargains that no community can afford to pass up.”

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty introduced the “Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators Act” recently into the US Senate to amend the ESEA to include a definition of SEL and to provide funds to teach educators and principals SEL concepts during Professional Development Days. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said, “I will be thinking of Jesse’s inspiring courage and caring when I return to Washington to renew my support of the Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators At as an amendment to he Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Jesse had emotional intelligence way beyond his years, and it is my hope that we can instill those powerful qualities in children nationwide by giving teachers and educators the right tools and training. This proclamation is a fitting and important tribute to Jesse, and i will take its words – and Jesse’s story – to Washington as a mandate for action.

Lewis wrote a book, “Nurturing Healing Love” about her journey of hope and forgiveness that was released October, 2013.