"Because of 26"— Southington Mothers Planning Special Event For June 15

SOUTHINGTON — Erin Furniss and Lisa Wrubleski are friends, neighbors and Southington residents, and both have 6-year-old daughters who attend Plantsville Elementary School in Southington. In response to 12/14, the women have decided to do something locally to remember the victims and spread the notion of caring.

Mrs Furniss and Mrs Wrubleski are planning a ceremony on June 15 called Because of 26. They plan to hold a townwide event and have children and their families plant 26 butterfly bushes along the Rails to Trails trail in Southington, and raise funds to put up a memorial statue for the victims on the site.

“This event is in honor of the victims of Sandy Hook as well as a lasting reminder to our citizens to never forget to look for ways to be kind to our neighbors and pledge to make kindness and generosity our theme in Southington,” Mrs Wrubleski said via e-mail. “On that day the entire community will come together and 26 butterfly bushes will be planted, one in honor of each of those lost in Sandy Hook. These bushes will be planted by groups of children and their families. There are many other activities planned, all centered on the theme of kindness.”

The women are also working with Southington Community Cultural Arts, to have a mural of 26 butterflies painted on one of the buildings facing the trail on that day. Twenty-six artists will each paint one butterfly. Children will be able to help by painting words of kindness.

There is also a plan to release butterflies during the ceremony.

“The butterfly is a symbol of eternal life. Though it may leave and fly away, you know that it is out in the world making the world a more beautiful place,” the women said during a presentation at a Southington Board of Education meeting in January. “Our children are the future of Southington — some day they will be our doctors, lawyers, teachers, mailmen, and politicians.  Some may even leave, but we will know that no matter where they go, they are out there making the world a more beautiful place thanks to the foundation of kindness and generosity we have instilled in them.”

About 300 to 500 butterfly kits, each containing caterpillars and food to take care of them, have been donated by Magic Wings in Massachusetts. With the help and care of kindergartners and first grader students this spring, the caterpillars will grow into butterflies and will be set free during the ceremony.

Free ice cream, music, and chalk to cover the linear trail with kind and caring words will also be provided. Children from town schools will be invited to sing “It’s A Wonderful World.”

Mrs Furniss and Mrs Wrubleski have extended an invitation to Sandy Hook families. All are welcome to join the event, and Newtown residents will be invited to plant a bush on June 15.

The event on Saturday, June 15, will begin at 10 am, on the Plantsville Green, 710 Main Street in Southington. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Southington Superintendent of Schools Dr Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, have each been invited to make remarks.

The planting of the butterfly bushes will take place along the Rails to Trails linear trail beginning at 10:30, along with the other activities.

A Because of 26 Facebook page has been created. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Becauseof26.

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