Helping Young People Process Tragedies

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Our hearts go out the children and families affected by the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT. We'd like to offer these resources for helping children process these events and for building peaceful communities.

How to talk about it:

It can be difficult to know how to talk to kids about what they've seen on the news. Whether you work with children or are a parent, these tips will initiate a helpful and healing conversation.

By Dr. Michele Borba

Dr. Michele Borba is an internationally recognized expert and author on children, teens, parenting, bullying and moral development. Her work aims to help strengthen children's character and resilience, build strong families, create compassionate and just school cultures, and reduce peer cruelty. Her practical, research-based advice is culled from a career of working with over one million parents and educators worldwide.


From PBS


What to do about it:

For those of you asking what can you do to help. Students from Sandy Hook Elementary will be relocated to another school. Please help the students have a Winter Wonderland to welcome them to the new school. Making and sending Snowflakes large and small is a great way for children and adults to do something together for the children of this community.

Get creative. No two snowflakes are alike.

Don't forget to add a note (who made them, age, from where) - Send picture of your snowflakes to to get them included in an album, our gift for Newtown- check for more info.

Please send snowflakes by January 13, 2013 to:

  • Connecticut PTSA offices.

    60 Connolly Parkway

    Building 12, Suite 103

    Hamden, CT 06514

    If you live near Hamden CT, these are the hours of the offices for drop off: Monday thru Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed December 24 thru Dec 26 and reopen Thursday December 27.

  • Any school of Easton, CT & Redding, CT through January 9th.

  • Lya Schulz

    24 Squire Road

    Monroe, CT 06468


For Teachers:

  • Engaging youth in peace-building service-learning not only promotes peaceful communities, it gives young people a positive outlet for their feelings, lifts their spirits, and comforts them.

Actions of Peace

The Actions of Peace curriculum partners activities from both the Rubin Museum of Art and generationOn to examine peace through the arts, as well as ways that students can promote and learn about peace through service and community involvement. The four sets of lessons are best used with grades 3-8.



Idea: Create a "Kindness Chain" around your classroom, school, or club meeting room. Each person thinks of something kind they can do for another person and writes it on a slip of paper. Link the slips of paper together to create the chain. Display the chain as a reminder to complete the good deeds and as a demonstration of the kindness in the world. The chain can grow as more good deeds are done.


For Parents and other Caring Adults:

Save the Children put out a list of tips on how to support children through this tragedy including:

"Encourage your children to do volunteer work. Helping others can give children a sense of control and security and promote helping behavior. During a disaster, children and adolescents can bring about positive change by supporting those in need."

Below are some projects where kids can help other kids:

Pillow Pals 

Foster Care Duffel Bags

Kindness Chain

The Sandy Hook School Support Fund Coin Collection

An official fund for victims' families, and the community as a whole, has now been established: The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut will provide support services to families and the community. All donations to this fund will go directly to those affected. Go to for more information. The United Way of Western Connecticut is an affiliate of HandsOn Network also related to generationOn's parent organization, Points of Light.