JT Lewis, brother of Jesse, recently received a “Courage Award” on FOX Network’s Teen Choice Awards.
Jessica Alba and Ne-Yo presented the award which recognized how he and other teens that were honored chose to respond to the murder of a family member. They called for us all to be a part of the solution to the violence we are experiencing.
JT Lewis. far left, on stage with Jessica Alba and Ne-Yo, middle, and other teens receiving the Courage Award.
JT with JT, a.k.a. Justin Timberlake, backstage at the Teen Choice Awards on the FOX Network sporting Newtown Helps Rwanda bracelets.
Newtown Helps Rwanda
JT chose to help other children who have experienced trauma through his organization, Newtown Helps Rwanda (www.newtownhelpsrwanda.org).
For those of you who don’t know the story, orphan genocide survivors from Rwanda reached out to JT via live Skype after his little brother, Jesse, was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They told JT, through a translator, about their own traumatic experiences and reassured him that he would “be ok and feel joy again.” They told him how they survived, and then were able to thrive, after their own personal tragedy that happened when they were children.
They followed the same formula for choosing love that Jesse left on our kitchen chalkboard: Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion in Action = Choosing Love. They began with gratitude for being alive, then chose to forgive those who had murdered their parents, understanding that they might go down the same path of anger and destruction as the perpetrators if they didn’t, and then had the courage to step outside their own pain to help others. They found in doing this, peace and personal healing.
Since then, JT has sent 2 orphan genocide survivors to university, helped build self-sustaining fish ponds for former children soldiers in Uganda and helped countless children in America. JT is an incredible example of how powerful helping others can be for our own healing. Truly, when we help others, we help ourselves as well.