Scarlett Lewis is a hero of optimism for taking an unimaginable personal tragedy and turning it into an opportunity to infuse love into our world at a time when we need it the most.
Scarlett is the mother of Jesse Lewis, one of the school children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012. Jesse was hailed as a hero that day when the shooter stopped to reload his weapon, Jesse yelled to his classmates to run. His actions inside the school saved 9 of his friends. His courage was unmatched.
When Scarlett returned to their family home after his death she noticed a message Jesse wrote before he died on their kitchen chalkboard: “Nurturing Healing Love”. The words “nurturing” and “healing” are a part of the definition of compassion across almost all cultures. Being loved is a basic human need. Jesse’s words not only helped Scarlett and her surviving son JT move forward, but they helped her realize her life’s mission – to teach others how to use Jesse’s formula to choose love in any situation. Jesse’s killer acted on an angry thought in his head. Scarlett believes that had the young man been given the tools to change that rage into a loving thought, this tragedy may never have happened.
Inspired by Jesse’s words and courage, Scarlett founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement (JLCLM) which is committed to creating awareness in our children and our communities that we can choose love over anger, gratitude over entitlement, empathy over hate, and forgiveness and compassion over bitterness.
Scarlett has traveled around the globe to share Jesse’s message of…nurturing healing love. His formula for choosing love transcends boundaries – everyone just wants to love and be loved. Scarlett has spoken to kindergarteners through college level students, prisoners, and at-risk youth who collectively represent every aspect of our global society. All have taken in Jesse’s message and all have been changed by it. Anger and violence affect all of us —– suburban, urban, young, old, nationally and internationally. If our world ever needed a formula for choosing love, it’s now.
After two years of working tirelessly with experts and educators, Scarlett has created a wisdom-based school curriculum based on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) that she will offer for free online to educators, individuals and communities in the United States on around the globe. The Choose Love Enrichment Program is a Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum, which contains the universal teachings of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action. Scarlett offers this program for free means that no one will be denied access to this life-changing resource based on financial ability or economic status.
After losing her son, it would’ve been easy for Scarlett to be resentful and angry. Instead she chose to hope, optimism and love. She often says, “we may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to those things”. She lives the practice she teaches others-choose love in any circumstance. Scarlett believes that putting positivity into the world is the most effective way to change society for the better and to ensure that what happened at Sandy Hook never happens again.