LYNNFIELD, Mass. — A New England mother who lost her 6-year-old boy in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history is on a quest to change the trend.
Scarlett Lewis lost her son, Jesse, when a gunman opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, fatally shooting 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members.
Jesse Lewis was shot in the head inside the building as he told his first grade classmates to run.
On Sunday night, less than one month away from the six-year anniversary of the awful tragedy, Lewis says she's guided by the son she lost and hopes her message can prevent incidents like these from happening again.
“It’s something you miss every day, I miss Jesse every moment of every day," said Lewis. "That morning when I heard there had been a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, I never in a million years thought my son would be murdered ever."
Surviving classmates credit Jesse's final words for saving them when he told them to run as the gunman's rifle jammed.
“He was instrumental in saving nine of his classmates lives before losing his own," said Lewis.
At Saint Maria Goretti Church in Lynnfield, Lewis stood tall and explained how her son's courage motivated her to spread her message to classrooms across the nation.
Lewis says her son not only taught her how to forgive but also inspires her to spread a social and emotional leaning program she believes can stop the issue at its core.
She credits her son's last words with inspiring the program's concept.
“He left a message on our kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died," said Lewis. "He wrote 3 words: 'nurturing, healing, love.' “I did know [that] if the shooter was able to give and receive nurturing, healing [and] love, the tragedy would’ve never happened. Up until now we’ve been thinking there’s a they with a capital 'T' that’s going to solve this for us, [but] I think we’re slowly realizing it’s going to have to be us."
The “Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement”, a free program, teaches children how to cultivate empathy and how to understand and manage emotions.
It’s currently being taught in all 50 states, and Scarlett Lewis is encouraging more schools to consider the program.
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