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Giving Thanks for a Brighter Future

Nicole Hockley holds her son, Dylan wearing his superman t-shirt.

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A message of gratitude from Nicole Hockley, our co-founder, and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

This time of year, while we always show our gratitude and grace, can also weigh a bit heavier and feel a bit darker. But as we begin to reflect on the Remembrance of the precious lives taken on December 14, 2012, I choose to see and embrace the light. And that is thanks to all of you.

When I lost my beautiful butterfly Dylan more than 10 years ago it was hard to find a path forward. My life had been thrown into sadness and turmoil.  I felt like I was at the bottom of a gigantic hole that I could never climb out of. I didn’t know how to help myself, never mind those I loved.

Renewed Sense of Purpose

But in the weeks and months that followed, and with the support of those around me, I found a renewed sense of purpose. To keep other children and families from enduring the same fate. It’s that same dedication I see in our network of parents, educators, and supporters. That gives me the continuing strength to move forward despite times of pain or challenge.

We continue to become fearless Upstanders and take action, rather than remain bystanders passively allowing tragedies and unconscionable acts to occur. I see hope and light in the eyes of so many who have persevered despite the most difficult circumstances. And it gives me so much to be grateful for. 

So Much to be Grateful For

As students, you created a more positive school environment. You helped combat social isolation among your peers and kept them connected.

Educators continued to be innovative, foster inclusivity, and intervene when someone needed help. And you empowered your students to say something when they saw something that concerns them.

I’m also thankful for our volunteers and advocates rooted in bipartisanship who carry our message forward and helped to pass life-saving legislation like the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that will make huge strides in youth mental health. We are incredibly grateful for your support.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity of our supporters. Your contributions have allowed our programs to continue saving the lives of students across the country every day.  It’s your generosity that’s creating a culture of change where every youth is safe from fear and violence. 

With You By Our Side

I know that with all of you by our side we will continue to move forward. Together we can create inclusive communities where everyone is respected. Together we can drive out social isolation and end school shootings. And together we can keep our promise to make our community and our nation a safer, better place.

Without your passion, support, and dedication, this important and life-saving work wouldn’t be possible.  It’s always difficult to face tragedy, but it’s through your support that has allowed the life of my beautiful little butterfly Dylan, and all the other children who were taken from us too soon, to have meaning. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping us keep our promise to protect kids.