Clark Student and Newtown Native Helps Community Heal Through Art
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
This is the impetus behind the organization Healing Sandy Hook Through the Arts, a non-profit corporation that, as the name suggests, was formed specifically to fund art therapy and arts programs designed to enhance the healing process of the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School following the tragic shooting there on Dec. 14 of last year.
The corporation is made up of mostly friends of Sandy Hook School’s art teacher Leslie Gunn, who was a witness to the terror on late last year. Friends have volunteered their time and services to create, organize and run the organization. Most of them are Newtown residents; those who are not live in surrounding towns.
Clark University senior and Newtown native Katherine S. Bamberg is one of these volunteers working with members of her hometown to help those affected by this tragedy. The double major in Film Studies and International Development and Social Change was a member of the Newtown High School Class of 2009.
“I think there is a need for this organization because the arts are a very important field. They can serve many purposes, primarily expression, as well as acting as a form of therapy,” said Bamberg.
The organization was formed only a few days after the tragedy, with Gunn as President. It has already raised over $37,000 so far.
The short but emotional story of how the corporation came to be is on their website. Leslie was one of the many heroic members of the Sandy Hook faculty and staff. She protected her students in a locked room before leading them, with eyes closed, to safety. One of her students told her he couldn't wait to get back to art class so he could "build a better world."
This reflects the mission of Clark University, as well as Kate's own personal goals at the school says Paula Hall, Manager of Graduate Admissions for the International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE) Department, where Bamberg is a student worker.
“It’s no surprise that Kate has taken an active role with her hometown through this non-profit arts organization. Kate has spoken to me about her interests in film and how that could play an instrumental role in international development and social change,” Hall says. “Kate embodies what Clark is all about, especially the University’s focus on liberal arts and effective practice.”
Sandy Hook's students did indeed finally return to school, though in a different building, in January. But their lives changed forever, and many are still attempting to overcome the issues associated with the immense trauma they experienced while also adjusting to a new school with new surroundings. Taking part in artistic programs and endeavors is just one way to help them in the quest.
The horrific events of Dec. 14th claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary. It was the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
Donations can be mailed to Healing Sandy Hook Through the Arts, P.O. Box 689, Newtown, CT 06470, or made via the website. The group also has a Facebook page.
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