It’s been a rough year for all of us, especially for me. This school year, I’ve felt a lot of self blaming and fear because I’ve had two close friends of mine die within six weeks and school work was only getting more and more stressful.
Initially, I thought of all of the things I could have done differently to help my friends. During a dark time, I tried to channel my shock, my stress, and my sadness into work. I slept 5 hours a night, not taking breaks from my school work, and I was always too focused on getting things done rather than my own personal health. I then turned to wrestling as a way to cope with my stress and anxiety. But when my season ended badly at the state tournament for something out of my control, I felt disappointed and hopeless. Then COVID-19 happened, and the world came to a halt and everyone was struck with fear, grief, and sickness. Because of the many changes that have been made, including the forced quarantines and social distancing, I suddenly have found myself on a forced break from the daily life I had been used to for years. I no longer have sports to rely on, no more ACTs to prepare for, and none of the college visits that I planned. With all of these cancellations, I suddenly have a lot more time to think and reflect on my past year. I’ve learned to relax, go for runs in the neighborhood, get more sleep, spend more time with my family, and engage myself in this meaningful mission.
This is a time for us to reset and remember what is important. COVID is a great reminder to take a break and spend more time with friends and family.
After losing two of my friends this year, my classmates and I dealt with a lot of sadness and a lot of questions that went unanswered.
And now with COVID, there is a lot of conflicting information circling around. There are so many unknowns, leading to a lot of fear.
I have seen people during this time turn to scapegoating and blame, which is an unfortunate but common response during great times of stress and fear.
The work of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is now more important than ever, as our nation and world grapples with an unprecedented pandemic.
My family has known the Lewis family for many years and we’ve seen and understood the pain that Scarlett Lewis has been through since losing her son in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. I’ve been inspired by the composure that Scarlett Lewis displays at all times. Scarlett’s uncompromising, yet forgiving and loving heart is reflected on the Movement. The Choose Love Movement is made up of people who are willing to hold on to the same important values despite opposition, challenges, or many forms of doubt. These are people who are willing to work hard to make changes not just for themselves, but for the entire American society, and they are the kind of people that I want to emulate in my life. My family has always taught me that I need to be a kind and selfless person who is willing to work at any time for what I believe in and this Movement meets that exact vision.
As a society, we need to appreciate people who are willing to stand up and fight for their goals; these are the people that are able to make the changes that form the backbone and shape the Movement of our life. From the Declaration of Independence to the Civil Rights Movement, change in the country has started with a few brave individuals that had goals in their mind not just for themselves, but for the people around them, hoping to grant thousands of people a better life. When I look at this curriculum, I see a solution not just to violence, but to marriages, to discrimination, and to the countless ethical problems that the whole world faces each and every day. Not only that, but the most beautiful thing is that the message has never changed. There hasn’t been adaptation according to a new decade, a political shift, economic pressure, or internal change, but it has always been the same Choose Love Movement. The goal of the Movement, from day one, has been not only to remember Jesse Lewis, but to give the world an opportunity to learn to love others like Jesse did every single day. During a dark time when COVID -19 runs rampant where we are all stuck in our own houses possibly for months, we are reminded that some families will not teach their children these principles at home.
An SEL program like the one provided by the Choose Love Movement in schools can teach every one of us to treat others with the respect and love that all of us want to be treated with. Through SEL programs, we can make the world into a better place and a place we want to be in where we can be safe and happy and that is why I want to work on this vitally important mission.