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“A Night Honoring Promise Champions”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Dini von Mueffling Communications
Stephanie Morris
Stephanie@dvmcpr.com
646-650-5005

“A Night Honoring Promise Champions”
Sandy Hook Promise Hosted its 3rd Annual Champions Gala in Washington D.C.


Elected Officials From Across the Aisle United To Support The Gun Violence Prevention Organization In The Shadow Of Recent Tragedies

 

Newtown, CT - Wednesday June 14th, was an emotional day on Capitol Hill following the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and several others, but members of Congress from the across the aisle showed a groundswell of support at Sandy Hook Promise’s 3rd annual Promise Champions Gala event at the Mellon Auditorium.

The event was hosted by Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, co-Founders and Managing Directors at Sandy Hook Promise (SHP). Hockley’s son Dylan and Mark’s son Daniel were among the 20 first graders and 6 educators killed at the Sandy Hook School tragedy on December 14, 2012.

The event honored men and women from across the country for their work in gun violence prevention and mental health support, including Promise Champions U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) who were honored for their consistent support of common sense efforts to address gun violence.

In 2016, Senator Collins committed to finding common ground with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and those with severe mental illness. She introduced bipartisan legislation in 2016 to prevent people on the No Fly List of Selectee List from purchasing firearms, and supported the Manchin-Toomey Background Check Bill in 2013 and 2015.

Senator Manchin co-authored the Manchin-Toomey Background Check Bill in 2013 and 2015, working closely with Sandy Hook Promise and listening to the voices of his constituents and the nation. Senator Manchin continues to advocate for commonsense, bipartisan solutions, working with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to prevent gun violence and keep constituents safe.

The honorary co-chairs for the evening U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), spoke passionately about their personal connections with the cause, and their shared goal of reducing violence across the United States. Honorary co-chair U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democratic Leader (D-NY) was also acknowledged for his ongoing support, but was unable to attend in person.

SHP’s mission galvanized support from over 50 members of Congress who served on the honorary co-chair committee for this event. They were joined at the gala by esteemed business and philanthropic leaders, and Promise Leaders from across the nation who are creating change within their communities.

Following the horrific shooting of Scalise and others who were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, and the San Francisco UPS employee shootings earlier in the day, SHP co-founder Nicole Hockley said “Every time I hear about another act of gun violence, the pain of the day I lost my son comes rushing back. Losing a loved one like this is not something you ever get over. But what we want is to prevent others from ever having to feel our pain. That’s how we honor Dylan and Daniel and all the lives lost to gun violence … by creating meaningful, sustainable cultural change, while working to save lives every day. Sadly, incidents of gun violence in our country are still shockingly high. It pains me to say this, but since Sandy Hook, more than 10,000 children under the age of 19 have died as a result of gun violence. That’s 10,000 other families who live with the same pain we do every day.”

Despite the somber tone, Sandy Hook Promise celebrated the great strides it has made in the gun violence prevention and mental health and wellness space to date. In less than three years, SHP has trained nearly 2 million youth and adults in over 3700 schools, across all 50 states with their Know The Signs violence prevention programs on mental health and wellness, identification of at-risk behaviors and how to take action and get help before a situation escalates.

Through their initiatives, SHP has stopped multiple school shootings, suicides and other acts of violence, as well as reduced incidences of bullying, threats and weapons being brought into school and helped many young people get the mental health services support they need. However, there is still much work to be done. Over a half million acts of gun violence occur annually in the U.S. Every day, 314 people are shot, and of those 41 are children under the age of 18.

The event included an opportunity to celebrate and honor many of SHP’s partnerships with some of the country’s largest school districts, and the generation of young minds they have been training. Students and school administrators from the Miami Dade County Public Schools in Miami, FL; Burnet Middle School in Burnet, TX; Dutchtown High School in Hampton, GA; and Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley, CA attended the event. The Voices of Promise honorees school administrator Sara Te (Burnet, TX), and students Arlette De La Rosa (Miami, FL) and Micaylah Clark (Dutchtown, GA) each gave heartfelt speeches about the impact that SHP’s programs have had in their schools in reducing bullying, promoting social inclusion, and building awareness of ways to identify, act and prevent potential acts of violence.

The event was supported The Association for Accessible Medicines as Presenting Sponsor, and President & CEO Chip Davis was personally thanked for his longstanding partnership with SHP. The event’s Pillar Sponsors, included Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Centene Corporation, Comcast Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, Pepsico, PhRMA, S&P Global and The Lawrence and Elva O’Brien Family Foundation.

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.

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Sandy Hook Promise Letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack

 

Andy Lack

Chairman, NBC News
June 13, 2017


Dear Mr. Lack,

As a co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and as mother of six-year-old Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, I respectfully ask you not to broadcast Megyn Kelly’s interview with Alex Jones.

That Jones could posit that what happened in Newtown was a hoax is beyond reprehensible; it is indefensible. It dishonors the lives of the 20 children and 6 adults who died on Dec. 14, 2012. The exposure that Jones will receive as a result of the broadcast will enrich him further and invigorate him and his supporters.

There is undeniable evidence that whenever conspiracy theorists are given a platform or voice, it bolsters them.

Sadly, since shortly after the shooting, a growing group of hoaxers has made it their mission to harass families in Sandy Hook. They claim that the shooting never happened, that no one died, that some of us are just crisis actors, paid to play a role for political or policy reasons. It goes without saying that many of these hoaxers stay hidden behind their anonymous avatars, with cowardly attacks mainly on social media. But some, like Jones, come forward. Some of them do become dangerous, and it is not uncommon to receive ongoing acts of harassment, hate mail and death threats as they feed off one another. This is best seen in the DC pizza shooting threat which was driven by Jones. To have to deal with this, on top of having lost a child, is both disgusting and unbearable.

We respect the thought and approach, however, you missed the larger impact in that giving Jones a platform and national forum, the real impact will be on families.

Listening to Jones' comments in the last 24 hours, it is obvious he is basking in the platform he has already been given due to the outcry and is baiting you to air the show. Please - don't make this about him. Make this about the people he and his followers harm.

I urge you not to broadcast Alex Jones’ interview.

Sincerely,

Nicole Hockley (Dylan’s Mom)

Sandy Hook Promise partners with Screening for Mental Health on new Suicide Prevention Initiative

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Dini von Mueffling Communications
Stephanie Morris
Stephanie@dvmcpr.com
646-650-5005

Sandy Hook Promise partners with Screening for Mental Health
on new Suicide Prevention Initiative


New collaboration with Signs of Suicide Prevention Program
will help stem the rising tide of teen deaths across the U.S.

 

Newtown, CT – Leading gun violence prevention organization Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) will be providing Screening for Mental Health Inc.'s (SMH) SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS Program) to schools nationwide as part of its Know The Signs violence prevention programs. SHP presenters will train school staff, faculty, parents, and students about the risk factors and warning signs for youth suicide and how to stop violence and self-harm BEFORE it happens.

“Sandy Hook Promise is proud to work with Screening for Mental Health by extending the reach of their suicide prevention initiative, to protect and support the next generation. By offering SMH’s SOS Program to our network of schools, we hope that students, parents and teachers can help identify young people at risk of suicide. Sandy Hook Promise’s strategy of building awareness of the causes and signs of violence, reducing bullying, and promoting social inclusion, has already proven to be highly effective, and we hope to ensure that vulnerable young people and their families receive the support they need to prevent future tragedies,” said Nicole Hockley, Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of 6-year old Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“Screening for Mental Health is delighted to partner with Sandy Hook Promise to bring the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program to more schools nationwide and have more students learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide in themselves and their peers,” said Meghan Diamon, Senior Manager, Suicide Prevention Programs, Screening for Mental Health. “Having the SOS Program be part of the Know the Signs violence prevention programs delivers an important message to the audience that suicide prevention is a key component of violence prevention.”

Prevalence of Suicide in the U.S.
In recent years, the suicide rate amongst teens has escalated, a pattern that can be attributed to a range of factors such as the prevalence of depression and cyber-bullying.

Between 2007 and 2014, the suicide rate among U.S. middle school-aged kids doubled, according to research published in November 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (from 180 suicides in 2007, to 425 in 2014), surpassing motor vehicle injury and homicide as the leading cause of death.
Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/suicide-14-i-have-racked-my-brain-trying-understand-n686036
Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6543a8.htm?s_cid=mm6543a8_w

Impact:
Since they began their outreach in 2015, Sandy Hook Promise has trained nearly 2 million youth and adults across the country with their no-cost, evidence-based violence prevention programs for educators, students and youth organizations. Through their innovative initiatives, Sandy Hook Promise has helped avert multiple school shootings, suicides and threats and acts of self-harm violence, as well as reduced the incidences of bullying nationally.

About the SOS Program: The SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is the only youth suicide prevention program that has demonstrated an improvement in students’ knowledge and adaptive attitudes about suicide risk and depression, as well as a reduction in actual suicide attempts. Listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, the SOS Program has shown a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40-64% in randomized control studies (Aseltine et al., 2007 & Schilling et al., 2016).

SOS is unique among school-based suicide prevention programs as it incorporates two prominent suicide prevention strategies into a single program: an educational curriculum that raises awareness about suicide and depression, and a brief screening for depression.

The SOS Program joins part of the series of highly-successful Sandy Hook Promise Know The Signs violence prevention programs, including Say Something, Start With Hello, and Safety Assessment & Intervention, which have been implemented in schools and colleges to recognize, assess and respond to potential signs of violence early on, as well as address chronic social isolation and bullying. Most recently, Sandy Hook Promise also recently partnered with SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) to extend the reach of their programs to an even wider number of schools, colleges and communities across the United States.

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.

About Screening for Mental Health
Screening for Mental Health, Inc., the pioneer of large-scale mental health screening for the public and the developer of the SOS Program, provides innovative mental health and substance use resources, linking those in need with quality treatment options. SMH programs educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common mental health disorders, and suicide.

For more information about Screening for Mental Health, visit www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

Sue Thorn
Director of Marketing and Communications
sthorn@MentalHealthScreening.org
(781) 591-5243

Sandy Hook Promise Acquires SAVE to Increase Efforts in Youth Violence Prevention

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Dini von Mueffling Communications
Stephanie Morris
Stephanie@dvmcpr.com
646-650-5005

 Sandy Hook Promise Acquires Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) 

Two Leading National Nonprofits Collaborate to Train and Empower Youth in
Violence Prevention Strategies Across the United States

Newtown, CT – Leading gun violence prevention organization Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is pleased to announce it has acquired youth violence prevention group National Association of S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere), Inc. (SAVE) to collectively expand their reach and sustain their work on educating and empowering young people to help prevent violence BEFORE it happens.

“Sandy Hook Promise is thrilled to be joining forces with SAVE in our violence prevention efforts. In order to sustain our Know The Signs violence prevention programs, we have been embedding our programs into existing student clubs, or creating new clubs to continue their activities. SAVE’s established national network of 2,200 student chapters in 48 states helps us with that work, and to meet our shared goals of preventing school shootings, reduce bullying, and making our communities more inclusive and safe for everyone,” said Nicole Hockley, Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of 6-year old Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook School tragedy.

In less than three years, Sandy Hook Promise has trained 2 million youth and adults across the country with their free violence prevention programs for educators, students and youth organizations. Through their innovative initiatives, Sandy Hook Promise has helped avert multiple school shootings, suicides and threats and acts of self-harm violence, as well as reduced the incidences of bullying nationally.

SAVE chapters around the country are led by students for students, giving members the opportunity to lead the planning and execution of youth safety campaigns for their peers. Through the collaboration with SHP, SAVE will be able to sustain efforts to encourage and empower students to keep their schools and communities safe. The organization involves more than 240,000 students in 2,200 chapters across elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges and community organizations in the U.S. The organization mentors and provides resources, confidence and support to empower student leadership to help make schools and communities safe.


“SAVE is a proud supporter of Sandy Hook Promise and its mission, with several of our chapters participating in their Know The Signs violence prevention programs, including Say Something and Start With Hello. We are so thankful to combine our efforts with their organization to sustain our programs together,” said Carleen Wray, SAVE’s Executive Director.

Like SHP, SAVE was started after tragic gun violence – one that took the life of a high school student. Students initially met to console each other, and later formed the SAVE organization to promote youth safety and prevent future violent incidents from occurring. By coming together, SHP and SAVE hope to further educate and empower youth to lead and sustain violence prevention strategies and safety efforts both within their local schools and nationwide.

About Sandy Hook Promise
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.

About the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere
SAVE started at West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1989 following the tragic death of a student who was trying to break up a fight at an off-campus party. Students met first to console each other, then as an organization to promote youth safety and to work together to prevent future incidents from occurring. SAVE provides education about the effects and consequences of violence and helps provide safe activities for students, parents and communities. For more information on SAVE or starting a SAVE chapter, visit www.nationalsave.org.

 

Sandy Hook Promise Statement on Megyn Kelly

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Newtown, CT - Sandy Hook Promise, a leading gun violence prevention organization, and NBC host Megyn Kelly have agreed that Kelly will no longer host the organization’s annual Promise Champions Gala on Wednesday, June 14th, in Washington DC. This decision was spurred by NBC’s planned broadcast of Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who believes the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, was a hoax.

 

“Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones and have asked Megyn Kelly to step down as our Promise Champion Gala host,” said Nicole Hockley, co-Founder and Managing Director. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”

60 Minutes returns to Newtown

For us, there is no moving on from the horrific day when 20 children and six educators were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, from the day we lost our loved ones forever – there is only moving forward.

On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a segment that showed how some Newtown families have spent the last four years moving forward. We hope you'll take a moment to watch it now to learn more about the work Mark and Nicole have done over the past four years to honor their sons and protect children from gun violence.

Read more

Watch the 'Newtown' Documentary

In case you missed it, you can now stream Newtown in full below until April 17. You can also rent or buy Newtown on Amazon or iTunes, or purchase the DVD.

Big News Out of New Mexico

This is big! Legislation on background checks is moving in New Mexico. On February 4, HB 50 and SB 48 passed a first committee vote in both chambers of the New Mexico legislature, and they are gaining momentum. Now is the time to get organized and add your voice.

 

Sandy Hook Promise is proud to support HB 50 and SB 48 to require background checks on all gun sales. These bills would close the loopholes in New Mexico law that allow criminals to easily bypass the system by purchasing firearms without a background check from unlicensed sellers, at gun shows or online from strangers. We know that universal background checks work and that, if passed, this legislation will help save lives. There will be a lot of work to do over the coming months to get these bills across the finish line.

 

That’s why we are starting now by adding all of our voices in support of this critical legislation. Can you please make a quick call to your state representative and senator now and ask them to support HB 50 and SB 48? You can click here to find your local representatives.

Here are some talking points for your calls:

  • First, say your name and that you're a constituent.
  • Then, explain that you support HB 50 and SB 48 to pass universal background checks in New Mexico.
  • HB 50 and SB 48 are commonsense bills that will protect the Second Amendment rights of New Mexico residents while ensuring that people who simply should not have firearms, including felons and domestic abusers, cannot easily access them.
  • That's it!

 

We know that policy and political progress can often feel slow and difficult. Remaining strong and active in our states and local communities is so important. We really believe that together we can pass this important legislation for New Mexico and help prevent gun violence before it happens.