Marywood student sends love to Sandy Hook

Danielle Campbell, Staff Writer

Amanda Greenwood, a junior at Marywood University, spent the last month collecting over 1,400 valentines to send to the children of Sandy Hook.

Her project, called “Love is Stronger than Violence,” aims to bring attention to love instead of focusing on the tragedy that occurred in Sandy Hook on Dec. 14, 2012, when a lone gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members in a mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Greenwood’s hometown is just 15 minutes away from Newtown, Connecticut.

“I just thought I needed to do something,” said Greenwood. “When you’re in a small community and something like that happens, it really hits home to you.”

News of this campaign reached around the country. Greenwood received packages from as far as California. Many other students and members of the community have also contributed.

The valentines themselves did not recognize what had happened in any way. They simply said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” All of the valentines were proofed by Greenwood before being sent.

“It’s not about acknowledging the act of violence, but remembering the love that’s associated with it,” said Greenwood.

Organizers were unsure of how the children would react to these valentines. According to Dr. Tracie Pasold, assistant professor of psychology and counseling, no one could be sure how the children would react due to individual differences, but for the majority it will be in a positive way.

“It serves kind of like a warm blanket on a chilly evening, takes the edge off,” said Pasold.

Pasold also said that the parents should explain to the children why and from whom they are receiving these valentines. It is important for them to see how people are caring for them.

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Greenwood took a trip home to personally deliver the valentines. Because the process of getting donations approved to send to the school proved arduous, Greenwood distributed the valentines to local businesses and doctors’ offices who passed them along to the children.

According to Sr. Catherine Luxner, IHM, director of Campus Ministry, giving the valentines to businesses and doctors was a great way to ensure students would not be overwhelmed by the gesture.

“It’s about letting the people of Newtown know that we are with them in spirit and solidarity,” said Luxner. The valentines are something positive for the community, in contrast to all of the publicity about the tragedy.

Greenwood said she would like to continue her “Love is Stronger than Violence” campaign by performing more acts of love in honor of the Sandy Hook community. She said scholarships for students involved in this type of work is another possibility. She is extremely grateful to Marywood and the surrounding community for the amount of support she has received.

“I’m very excited that we can bring some smiles back hopefully,” said Greenwood.

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