A Note From Our Founder
Updated: May 11
The Work Of The Uvalde Foundation For Kids, Across The Nation; Was Birthed On A Tragic May 2022 Morning In Uvalde, Texas.
The Tragedy In Uvalde, Texas & The Pain Suffered By The Community & Families Who Bravely Faced It; Belongs To Them Alone. None Of Us Outside Of That Experience Can Completely Understand The Sense Of Loss & Emotions Resulting. Yet, Sadly, Students At Robb Elementary School That Day Who Thankfully Were Not Injured Or Killed; Still Added To The Over 331,000 Other Students, From Across The Nation; Who Have Experienced School Gun Violence Since Columbine High School, In Colorado - As Of 2022.
I Recall Flying Out Of Los Angeles, California, Following The School Shooting There; Along With A Small Team Of Volunteer Chaplains & Crisis Response Professionals. We Were To Provide As Required, Additional Intervention & Counseling Services To Those Many Traumatized From That Day.
Myself, Just a Few Years Before, Had Left My Studies At Loyola Marymount University In Los Angeles To Pursue Full Time Community Work With Youth & Other, More Specialized Educational Pursuits; While, Simultaneously Dealing With The Tragic Death Of My Brother. I was serving primarily at the time as a Chaplain for Anhaeim General Hospital in Anaheim, CA; As Well as Their Buena Park, SubAcute Unit.
I Knew I Wanted To Make A Difference For Kids In The Classroom Ever Since I First Stepped Inside One To Teach In 1992. BUT, Dealing With Students Being Killed In Their Classrooms? I Knew Loss BUT NOT THIS KIND!
We Had Never As A Nation Experienced Such Before. Our Classrooms Across the Country Were Changed Forever & Sadly, Columbine Would Only Be The Beginning... And Here We Are, America.
However, Just As Educators Seek To Empower Students In Classrooms Across The Nation To Bring Their Knowledge Into The World For Good - The Uvalde Foundation For Kids Seeks To Bring The Lessons Learned In The Halls Of Robb Elementary School & Others To School Communities Across The Nation & End School Violence - BEFORE It Happens.
We ALL Can & MUST Learn From The Circumstances of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Uvalde & Sadly - Many Others! We Not Only Can, But WE MUST! With That Knowledge, Ever Growing - Comes An Added Responsibility To Take Those Lessons & ACT Upon Them - Not Just In Uvalde, Texas - But In The Numerous School Communities Across This Nation Who Are Dealing With An Increase In School Violence.
Hence, In Honor Of Deserving Students In Classrooms Across The Nation Today, The Uvalde Foundation For Kids Exists & Works ; Not Only On A Local Level, But A National Level As Well.
Chances are, if you have been following the national news to any degree; you will have sadly noted, over the last year, a seeming increase in the amount of school related violence plaguing campuses across this nation. Tragic school events such as the shooting of teacher, Abby Zwerner in Newport News. Virginia, to the back to back shooting events at Denver East High School in Colorado, to suicide deaths due to bullying; such as in New Jersey; are truly spotlighting a grim reality surrounding the nature of student safety & well being in this country.
However - As reflected in our foundation's slogan - there is, "Out Of Tragedy - Hope." Where is this found? If you also look closely at the above daunting realities, seemingly taking over national news headlines; you will also note that in each case & more THE UVALDE FOUNDATION FOR KIDS HAS BEEN THERE!!!
I am so very proud of the combined work of our team to ensure that we are growing and establishing a sustainable presence as a positive force in the battle against school violence on a national level.
Since our inception, the foundation has grown from offering safety training & other resources designed to increase both school safety and overall student well being & enrichment within schools; to responding to school crisis events with mental health provisions, emergency safety training & more; while also growing our presence as advocates for students & school communities across the nation, facing challenges related to student safety within their schools and districts.
It must be noted also that, since our inception, not one officer or board member of the foundation receives a salary OR financial compensation for services provided. In fact NOONE within our organization receives a paycheck! We do not SOLICIATE donations from those we serve NOR are there FEES attached to our programming. We are proud of this rare aspect of the foundation.
Through our advocacy efforts & recognition programs; we are establishing ongoing, positive working relationships with school districts across the country. And, admittedly, we have also made some schools uncomfortable due to our investigative inquiries; such as at East Denver High School In Colorado or in St. Paul. Not everyone will be happy with what we do or how we do it. I am OK with that...
The Uvalde Foundation For Kids has also grown to a position of being able to support individual schools & districts, showing excellence in their school safety & student wellness programming.
We have been able to do so both with financial grants & additional resources through our recently established NONVIOLENT SCHOOL ALLIANCE AWARD. As a result, several ongoing partnerships have been established with schools, receiving this award, including in California, Kentucky, Indiana & Colorado. These schools were also presented with financial grants for their ongoing school safety initiatives.
Additionally, our inaugural ABBY ZWERNER HERO AWARD, was recently launched. Through such, the foundation was able to award Abby Zwerner, the teacher alluded to above, with a $1,000 Award!
Both the NONVIOLENT SCHOOL ALLIANCE AWARD & the ABBY ZWERNER HERO AWARD will be annual recognitions. We Also Are Adding our STUDENT HERO AWARD To This Programming. We wish to recognize those individuals and schools doing their part & more for the safety and enrichment of their students.
As For Our Work - We WILL CONTINUE - One Community, One School, One Life At A Time; Until That Day Our Students Can Be Just Students & Maybe, Just Kids Again.... They Deserve It...
The Uvalde Foundation For Kids
"OUT OF TRAGEDY- HOPE"
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