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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for 17 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Choose Love

Do you remember what you were doing on December 14, 2012?  I do. I remember like it was yesterday. I was working in my office at a university when suddenly I began receiving messages about a school shooting in Connecticut. I kept reading and reading, and then I would cry because I could empathize with those teachers as I had been in a classroom not too long ago.  It is a day I will never forget -- the day the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened.  

Fast forward to present day and I have had the opportunity on more than one occasion to work with a mother, Scarlett Lewis, who lost her son that day.  I wanted to share with you the magnificent way she is helping others, especially teachers, administrators, and everyone who works with families and children. All of us can learn so much from Scarlett’s story and benefit from implementing her organization's educational programming in our classrooms or at home.

Scarlett Lewis lost her six-year-old son Jesse in his first-grade classroom.  Because of the courage and spirit he showed that day, Scarlett was inspired to create the Choose Love Movement to provide children with the essential life skills and tools, beyond academics, that can empower children to thrive emotionally, mentally, personally, and socially. Her mission is to teach as many people around the world, beginning with children, the message of love, connection, and belonging. Choose Love for Schools™  is a no cost, next generation social and emotional learning and character education program for Pre-K through 12 grades, designed to teach students, educators, and staff how to choose love in any circumstance thereby creating a safer, more connected school culture (Choose Love, 2021).  This program is aligned with CASEL, Common Core and ASCA, and is the first SEL program to fully incorporate state of the art Character Social Emotional Development (CSED) model standards, while incorporating neuroscience and positive psychology to teach mindfulness, character, and emotional intelligence (Choose Love, 2021).  In 2018 Scarlett’s social emotional learning program was singled out as best practice by the White House in its 180-page school safety report as a way to reduce classroom bullying and violence. The Choose Love Movement Curriculum has been extended to include programs for the home, communities, athletes, and the workplace (Choose Love, 2021). 

Scarlett is a remarkable person. When talking to her your attitude just changes. You are inspired to have a more positive outlook and to forgive and start over and help others see their potential. You think back to what her family has been through and know that if she has the courage to be a better person after a tragedy like that, then you can also do the same.  I have listened to Scarlett speak on various occasions and I always walk away with something new from what she shares. Scarlett has shared her story with the Forgiveness Project,  Safe and Sound Schools, among others, and has written a captivating memoir: Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey Of Hope and Forgiveness. In addition, Scarlett shares stories of choosing love and changing anger into a loving thought on her Choose Love Movement Podcast. Pre-pandemic, she traveled and spoke to schools and other organizations and has now been speaking virtually and holding workshops that are engaging, encouraging, and inspiring. They are for anyone who wants to learn how to become part of the solution!

Scarlett has dedicated her life to helping others.  I have wanted to share how amazing her work is for a few years and I am so grateful to have the opportunity now. I hope you will take some time to review each resource that I noted or visit her website (chooselovemovement.org). There is something for everyone -- parents, educators, students, administrators, community members -- who want to learn more about social and emotional learning, understand the essential tools needed for a more positive outlook, and/or to learn how to live a more fulfilling life by following the Choose Love Formula of  Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion-in-Action. 

On the Choose Love Movement website, there are many other programs offered, including the Choose Love Book ClubEducator Wellness Workshops, various Extension Programs, and a Daily Dose of Love.  Let Scarlett be your role model. Now is the time for you to uncover your confidence and be a positive force in the world.  There are so many people out there that you can inspire on a daily basis.

Keep up with Scarlett

Scarlett on Social Media

Podcasts featuring Scarlett:


REFERENCES

Choose Love (2021).  Why Choose Love?