Milford fund-raiser benefits Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement

A small seaside shop in Milford will host a special fund-raiser, “Choose Love,” on Saturday, Dec. 17, to benefit the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, a free online program that teaches students to choose love for themselves and others.

The fundraiser will take place at the Blue Heron Store, an antique and gift store at 852 East Broadway, from 3 to 9 p.m.

Jesse McCord Lewis was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown.

“On the morning of Dec. 14, 2012, Jesse McCord Lewis walked out of his house and down the driveway towards his father, who was waiting to drive him to school,” his family wrote on the Choose Love Movement website. “Along the way, Jesse stopped to write a message with his finger in the frost on his mother’s car: ‘I love you.’ Just hours later, Jesse was gone.”

The website also says that prior to the tragedy, Jesse wrote three words on his chalkboard at home: “Nurturing. Healing. Love.”

“We understand these final words as a calling from Jesse that says, ‘I have something for you to do for us’,” the website states. “That’s to consciously change an angry thought into a loving one because it is a choice.”

The signature program of the organization is the Choose Love Enrichment Program, a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum that stresses courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action – the foundational concepts of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

“SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy and compassion for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions,” the Choose Love website explains.

“This powerful and proactive initiative has been proven to reduce current and future mental health issues including depression, stress and anxiety disorders and disruptive behavioral issues such as ADHD and bullying. The outcome reduces incarceration, addiction and suicide rates in individuals.”

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a commitment to reach students, educators and individuals, nationally and internationally.

There will be refreshments at the fund-raiser Dec. 17 in Milford. For information call 203-464-3555.