Bethel Artist Dana Benz on a Mission to Bring Joy to Grieving Families Through Art
Drawing of Emilie Parker by local 23-year-old Bethel artist Dana Benz.
On 12/14/12, Sandy Hook Elementary School lost 20 children, 5 teachers and a beloved principal in a horrific tragedy. Twenty-three year old Bethel Artist Dana Benz is on a mission to bring joy to grieving families through her artwork. Dana said she is in the process of drawing each victim as a tribute to their families after this senseless tragedy. To date she has drawn Emilie Parker, Dylan Hockley and Olivia Engel. Below is her tribute to Olivia.
Your sudden death has shaken us to the core. We love you and will remember you always. You may not be here physically but your soul is alive and well, resting in God’s loving arms.
Dana’s goal is to draw all 26 children and adults who passed away at Sandy Hook Elementary School and give the drawings to the families.
Below is her tribute to 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, who was also a member of Dana’s church, Walnut Hill Community Church. On Friday December 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM, the Walnut Hill Community Church, 156 Walnut Hill Rd., Bethel, will hold a memorial service for Dylan which is open to the public. Dana plans on giving Dylan’s family the drawing at the service.
In the wake of the horrific tragedy, Dana has found a way to bring healing through her artwork and has partnered with the Sandy Hook Arts Center, a non-profit organization who will bring art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy to the Newtown community.
For more information or to donate to the fund, please click here.
Celebrities, Charitable Groups and Private Citizens Nationwide Raise Hundreds of Thousands for Sandy Hook Victims
Celebrities, Charitable Groups and Private Citizens Nationwide Raise Hundreds of Thousands for Sandy Hook Victims
If you’re like most people, after hearing of a tragedy of such magnitude like what happened in Sandy Hook on Friday, the natural reaction is to want to help. In less than 4 days charities have already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to the families of this horrible attack.
New England Patriots’ Kraft family has donated $25,000 to help the victims. According to NFL.com, “The Kraft family owns the Rand-Whitney corrugated box plant in Newtown, just a mile from Sandy Hook Elementary School. And it was through that connection that Patriots owner Jonathan Kraft first heard the horrible news on Friday.”
The band One Republic has already raised more than $55,000. Click here for more information and a message from the band.
Locally, the United Way has partnered with Newtown Savings Bank to provide support to the victims’ families and the Newtown community. Click here to donate. Checks can be mailed to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, c/0 Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT. 06470.
A former Sandy Hook student “Ryan” has started a fund on Crowdrise.com called “Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund.” As of this posting he has raised close to $80,000 which will go to the school’s P.T.S.A. organization. According to the website, “Crowdrise partners with Network for Good to process all donations. Network for Good will send donations, less transaction fees, directly to PTSA of Sandy Hook.”
The organizer also stated ”I have contacted the school to make sure they’re expecting the funds in January, and will keep everyone updated on how the money is used.”
On Gofundme.com there are 468 fundraising sites for the Sandy Hook victims.
Newtown Youth & Family Services has a collection under the name of Caroline’s Gift. Click here to donate.
The Newtown Parent Connection has a collection to benefit victims, click here to donate.
The Newtown Fund will give funds donated to cover funeral expenses and also to create a permanent memorial. Click here to donate.
If you know of any other charitable organizations not listed here, please email email@example.com.
Peace Will Prevail Over Violence as Westboro Baptist Church Plans Protests in Newtown ~ By Wendy Mitchell
On December 15th it was reported on Facebook that the Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious anti-gay and military funeral protesters, woudl picket in Newtown, CT. On Saturday, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the extremely controversial “church,” posted on Twitter:
“Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”
Phelps-Roper’s Twitter message was posted just one day after 20 children and 6 adults were killed by Adam Lanza Sandy Hook Elementary School in the second worst U.S. school shooting. The members of the Westboro Baptist Church are known for picketing funerals of military personnel throughout the United States and announced they will protest during President Barack Obama’s visit on Sunday, as well as after the president’s visit.
When Matt and Stephanie Hack, both of Danbury, heard about the protest, they created a Facebook group called “Stop the Westboro Baptist Church.” Within 24 hours after setting up their page, the group had close to 10,000 members (as of this posting). The group plans to form a peaceful counter0protest and create a human wall, a silent blockade, to counter the hateful intent of the Westboro Baptist Church members.
Hack posted on the page, “After seeing the strength of this community, and seeing how the people of Newtown and beyond gathered together in peace at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church the night of this tragedy for mass and a candlelight vigil, there is no denying that the power of love can unite us and bring strength to this community.”
The peaceful counter-protest group also stated: “Any actions must be 100% peaceful. These people are not only hateful, but very wise with legalities. They will attempt to rile people into attack. Do not sink to their levels. Be greater than them at all times. If they preach their hatred loud, sing louder with love. Do not threaten. Do not act out. Just combat hatred with love.”
The Westboro Baptist Church is an American, independent Baptist church formed in 1955. Located in Topeka, Kansas, the small church of 40 members, many are family members of the Phelps, are known for their extreme ideologies, and is often described as a hate group.
In 2010 the group threatened to come to Brookfield, CT., to protest at the Brookfield Theater for the Arts’ production of The Laramie Project, a play about the brutal beating and death of a gay teen. At the time, I was a reporter for the Brookfield Patch and wrote an article about the play. After learning the WBC would picket the production, a group of peaceful counter protesters made angel wings out of PVC pip and white fabric to block the entrance of the show and as a symbol of solidarity and peace. After writing an article on the counter protest I received the following email and a death threat, from WBC leader Shirley-Phelps Roper–
“The Lord is coming Wendy and your destruction is IMMINENT! And here is the verse that is most amazing about it all, because it is YOU:
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
So what is that marrying and giving in marriage? PICK ME PLEASE – it is your fag marriage that this generation has set about to institutionalize on a rather global basis. According to the Babylonian Talmud, the ONLY TIME in human history we have had fag marriage on a rather global basis was just before the flood and in fact it is the thing that was the last straw to bring that wrath from God!
Now Wendy, I ask you – does it not seem so very out of whack for you to even consider the question of where WBC members are standing when you are looking down the barrel of wrath from God that is going to send your fellow countrymen like human projectiles, as the very land, pursuant to the precious promises of God to such a disobedient nation as this flying through the air, to VOMIT YOU OUT! Especially is this perfect for your neighborhood, because your God showed YOU PERSONALLY the face of that SPEWING time that is one the way. Within the last month, your state showed the visual of those projectiles when your power plan exploded and CNN had your neighbor standing before the eyes of the world with his squall on discussing the way the people flew through the air 40 feet!
The time is so very, very short! Your duty – each and every, all and singular is to fear God and OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS!!
The church never showed up at the Brookfield Theatre for the Arts that day, and a time of peace, love and sense of community joined together hundreds to promote love rather than hatred.
For more information about the peaceful counter protest in Newtown, please click here.
For more information about how you can help the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, please click here.
Community Comes Together to Help Victims of Sandy Hook Shooting Tragedy ~ By Wendy Mitchell
Prayer vigils were held across the country tonight to pray for the families who lost their precious children Friday, December, 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, as well as Newtown Methodist were overflowing with mourners who came to pray for the victims. The flag was lowered to half-staff and at the nearby Edmond Town Hall people came to came to light a candle of remembrance for the innocent victims of this horrible tragedy.
On a personal note, my heart is broken for the families who lost their children and for my sister-in-law who works at the school and was, thankfully, home sick today and is okay. It is unfathomable to think of what the brave teachers, families of students, co-workers and friends of the victims are going through as they try to find ways to cope with this senseless tragedy. My step-brother’s 9-year-old son was at the school and heard the gunshots and is home safe, thankfully but will no doubt need counseling. My thoughts turned to my theater students who attend Sandy Hook Elementary and are also okay. This tragedy hit my hometown hard, a town I grew up in, at my former school. I have gotten numerous calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages from family and friends who want to help.
After putting out a call for information on Bethel Buzz’s Facebook page, we have collected information about ways you can help.
HOW TO HELP:
The United Way of Western Connecticut has partnered with Newtown Savings Bank to create the “Sandy Hook Relief Fund.” The fund will provide support services to those families who have been affected. Funds can be mailed to The Sandy Hook Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown, CT. 06470. Click here to donate online.
Click here to donate to another online fundraiser. This is a fund started by a former Sandy Hook Elementary student to gather support for the victims, families, and all others affected locally.The funds will go to the school’s PTSA organization for counseling for the survivors (children and families), funeral expenses for affected families and for a scholarship fund supporting students at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Ultimate Limousine in Danbury has drivers who are donating their time and services for any transportation needed for family members for funeral arrangements of other memorial services. 203-790-LIMO.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to those who lost their children and to the families of the teachers who died and we continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers during this tragic and difficult time.