2020 Unsung Hero: Scarlett Lewis
Chief Movement Officer
Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement
Scarlett Lewis, the mother of six-year-old Jesse Lewis who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December of 2012, represents what it means to be an unsung hero. Scarlett is a loving mother who, after enduring such a tragic situation, now leads her own nonprofit to help others.
In 2013, Scarlett founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement in hopes to change the world. From tragedy to triumph, Scarlett chose to honor Jesse’s bravery by working tirelessly to help others be part of the solution to the issues our world is facing. She has helped cultivate safety in our schools, homes and communities, and has fostered a more peaceful world by teaching children to always choose love.
Even in the face of a heart-wrenching tragedy, Scarlett focused on love as the emotion that would enable her to go on with her life. Several days after Jesse’s death, Scarlett returned to their family home to retrieve his clothes for his funeral. It was then she noticed a message Jesse had written earlier on their kitchen chalkboard: "nurturing healing love." Seeing those words, Scarlett knew that if the shooter was able to give and receive “nurturing healing love,” the tragedy may not have happened. These words then guided Scarlett toward her life mission — to spread Jesse’s message and teach others how to choose love in any situation. Scarlett is committed to creating awareness in our children and our communities by teaching the transformative Choose Love Formula based on Jesse’s message: that they can choose love over anger, gratitude over entitlement, empathy over hate and forgiveness and compassion over bitterness.
Through the Choose Love Movement, Scarlett has taken on the responsibility for the suffering of the children in the nation and around the world that often leads to disastrous effects by creating the Choose Love Enrichment Program. Through CLEP, a no-cost, next-generation social and emotional learning and character development program developed by a team of leading educators, Jesse’s message of “nurturing healing love” is being taught in classrooms and communities throughout the world. This program spans from infants to the end of high school, as well as programs for the home, communities and athletes. Built around the Choose Love Formula (courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action equals choosing love) through an easy-to-use curriculum, children are taught life skills that result in emotional intelligence, moral awareness and personal responsibility. It is a powerful proactive mental health initiative. As of today, the Choose Love Enrichment Program has been downloaded in all 50 states and it is currently in 90 countries, reaching over 1.7 million children.
In addition, CLEP is part of the first-ever state-wide school safety initiative in New Hampshire where half the schools have implemented the program within six months of advocacy by the Governor. Scarlett focuses on cultivating love and emotional connection among people and providing children with the core competencies and skills beyond academics that can empower them to become connected, resilient and empowered individuals, and to thrive emotionally, mentally, personally and socially.
The Choose Love Formula transcends boundaries and, as Scarlett believes, everyone just wants to love and be loved. Scarlett travels throughout the U.S. to schools, conferences and various events to share her inspiring story and the powerful Choose Love Formula, teaching it to children, educators, community leaders, parents and even prisoners who collectively represent every aspect of our global society. All have taken in Jesse's message, and all have been changed by it.
In addition to CLEP, the organization offers three additional n-cost programs: Choose Love at Home, Choose Love for Communities and Champions Choose Love. Choose Love at Home is a video series that goes into the home to teach families how to Choose Love and offers ways to build important character values and explains the neuroscience behind it. Choose Love for Communities enables business owners, law enforcement agencies, politicians and community leaders to be part of the solution by providing team exercises and implementation ideas. Champions Choose Love includes videos and activities focusing on the SEL skills athletes can use to develop self-awareness, self-management, strengthening relationships with coaches, teammates and competitors, and develop responsible decision-making skills.
Scarlett will never stop sharing her story and spreading her message. She is a role model who follows the words of her son to find her true calling in life and keeps his memory alive by helping others when the world needs it the most.
The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement continually provides a proactive and preventative solution for everyone, and as the foundation empowers people around the globe to effect positive change, Scarlett’s movement is creating a ripple effect to make the world a peaceful, safer and more loving place.
Scarlett is a hero. She suffered the unimaginable — losing her precious six-year-old son in a horrific tragedy — yet Scarlett did not live a life based in fear and anger. Instead, she found strength through her son’s actions and direction from his three words, “nurturing healing love,” to intentionally choose love as a thoughtful response to everything in her life. She found purpose in being part of the solution. She became a champion and hero to all the people in the world who need her guidance, her love and her support in knowing they can be strong, can survive and must always choose love in any circumstance.