“Bad things happen to all of us, things that test us and impact us and change us, but it is not those moments that define us. It is how we choose to react to them that does.”
As a future teacher, my heart and mind trembled with immense anger and fear when I heard about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting over the radio. Tears automatically streamed down my cheek in disbelief that first graders and passionate educators were brutally murdered. The safest place in the world was now invaded by danger and horror. You can imagine my curiosity when I came across this book that was titled “Choosing Hope.” How could a book about Sandy Hook have a title with the word “hope?”
All I knew is that I had to read it.
Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis tells a story that shakes me up inside. From hearing the first gun shot to hiding 15 first graders in a bathroom that didn’t even fit a sink, she endured what many will never face in a lifetime. She lead her classroom of students through one of the nation’s darkest hours.
When facing a tragedy of this caliber, it would seem impossible to move forward and find security in any setting. Kaitlin defies those fears and finds healing in action through the creation of Classes4Classes, an organization dedicated to teaching children about kindness and compassion by exchanging gifts between classes across the nation. These gifts fulfill the educational needs of students and serve a platform to pay it forward. Her ability to transfer her fear and anxiety into giving back to the community gave her hope to enjoy the splendor of life and savor the moments she’s given.
This is a story of inspiration and positivity. It’s about not letting darkness control life but using life to give back. I aspire to be like Kaitlin and choose to find the hope when my life is at it’s darkest moment. May her story inspire you to put action to your healing and positivity to your own story.
To learn more about Classes4Classes visit http://www.classes4classes.org/