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After the shooting in Las Vegas at the start of October, one Newtown High School student wanted to show her support for the community.
Standing in front of a classroom of students just after school released on October 12, NHS junior Jenny Wadhwa explained that each student present would write a letter that would be sent to first responders and others helping victims through the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Southern Nevada.
According to the nonprofit organization, it is dedicated to “ensuring that those who are emotionally traumatized in emergency situations receive the assistance they need. TIP works closely with local emergency response agencies who request well-trained citizen volunteers to emergency scenes to provide emotional and practical support to family members, witnesses, and other bystanders directly on-scene during the investigative process.”
Jenny explained TIP’s efforts to the students. She had a slideshow prepared, and she also had a list of the names of volunteers, provided through TIP. Each student chose a name to write to, and after Jenny shared her presentation, the students each wrote a personal note to that volunteer.
Jenny said arranging the letter writing campaign with NHS was easy. She had already reached out to TIP and the school supported her efforts. She also invited friends and students on sports teams, like the girls’ cross country team that had roughly 20 members present.
“And everyone is just coming to support,” Jenny said, looking at the turnout for her effort. Jenny said her sister Maya, also a junior at NHS, helped her organize the event.
When students asked what they should include in the letters, Jenny said, “You can write about anything you want.”
Ben’s Bells provided friendship coins for the effort and the students included the coins in the envelopes with their letters. Jenny told students not to share their last names when they signed the letters.
“I’m really happy with the turnout,” Jenny said.
Maya and Jenny both helped students find paper, envelopes, and a Ben’s Bells coin for the letters.
Jenny shared that she hopes the people who receive the letters understand that another town has thrived in the face of gun violence and that people support them.
She added that she hopes they know “They are not alone.”