JESSE LEWIS CHOOSE LOVE ENRICHMENT PROGRAM
The nonprofit was created by Scarlett Lewis, whose son, Jesse, was murdered, alongside 19 of his classmates and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary. Jesse was 6 years old and hailed as a hero that day. When the shooter stopped to reload, Jesse courageously stood in front of him and used his final moments to yell to his classmates to run to safety. He saved six of his classmates that day.
Scarlett understood that Jesse’s killer acted on an angry thought in his head. She believes that had he been given the social and emotional tools and skills to transform his rage into love, the tragedy of Sandy Hook (and others like it) never would have happened.
Just before the funeral, Scarlett found a message Jesse wrote on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died which read, “Nurturing Healing Love.” Inspired by Jesse’s words and courage, she founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™. Our mission is to ensure that every child has access to Social and Emotional Learning in their classrooms and to help facilitate this teaching within their families, schools and communities.
In order to achieve our mission, we developed The Choose Love Enrichment Program™, a free pre-K through 12th grade, evidence-based program that teaches individuals to choose love for themselves and others. The program helps kids acquire and apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy and compassion, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. It was designed and created for educators by educators and is easily adaptable and implemented. Click to download sample curriculum.
Scarlett Lewis Bio
Scarlett Lewis, Founder & Chief Movement Officer
Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™
Scarlett Lewis founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ after her son was murdered during the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. Shortly after his death, Scarlett decided to be part of the solution to the issues that we’re seeing in our society—and that also caused the tragedy. She created the Movement and became an advocate for social and emotional learning (SEL) that teaches children how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy relationships.
Scarlett works to promote the Choose Love Enrichment Program™, a no cost, comprehensive, evidence-based SEL program that empowers educators and their students to choose love for themselves and others. While we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how we respond. This program teaches children how to handle adversity, have courageous conversations, and to respond with love.
Scarlett has been instrumental in changing legislation to incorporate SEL into schools. The Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators Act was introduced by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and, in December 2015, Congress approved Every Student Succeeds Act. Scarlett graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Communications in 1990. She has worked in the finance industry as a bond trader, investment banker and real estate. Scarlett is an artist and avid horsewoman; she lives in Connecticut with her son, JT.
Sample media / speaking engagements:
- Today.com: Sandy Hook, 5 years later: How one mother found forgiveness, hope and a mission [LINK]
- Huff Post: 5 Years Later, This Sandy Hook Mom Is Turning Tragedy Into Compassion [LINK]
- Fortune Magazine: Commentary: 5 Years After Sandy Hook, There’s a Powerful Movement Building [LINK]
- UPLIFT Podcast: Choosing Love in the Face of Fear [LINK]
- Option B: I don’t want anyone to forget about Jesse. He isn’t ‘lost.’ He was murdered. [LINK]
- Daily Mail: His courage gives me perspective in my own life’: Mother of Sandy Hook victim, 6, who saved the lives of nine students says she forgives son’s killer Adam Lanza as she launches ‘choose love’ program to teach compassion [LINK]
- Today.com: Mom of Sandy Hook victim says she forgives shooter, wants others to choose love [LINK]
- The Associated Press: School district teams with Sandy Hook mom to teach empathy [LINK]
- TEDxFayetville: Nurturing Healing Love [LINK]
- The TODAY Show: Newtown mom: Slain son was put on earth to be a hero [LINK]
- News 12 CT: Lesson of Love [LINK]
- Hartford Courant: 3rd Annual Social and Emotional Learning Awareness Week [LINK]
- If we can teach our children that they have the power to choose a loving thought over an angry thought, we can create a more peaceful world.”
- “Love is the most powerful force in the universe, a want and need that connects every human being on the planet.”
- “Jesse faced his fear in his final act of love, on December 14, 2012, when he stood up to the shooter and saved 9 of his classmates’ lives before losing his own. We all have the potential to cultivate the courage that Jesse showed that day. He performed the ultimate act of love, laying down his life for his friends.”
- “I decided to be part of the solution to the issues that we’re seeing in our society—and that also caused the tragedy. I became an advocate for social and emotional learning that teaches children how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy relationships.”
- “Courage is being kind and gentle, doing the right thing when no one is looking, and thoughtfully responding to a reactive situation.”