In December, 2012, JT Lewis' little brother, Jesse, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Shortly after the tragedy, JT had the opportunity to Skype with several Rwandan genocide survivors.
In Rwanda, nearly 20 years earlier, over 2,000,000 people were killed or orphaned within 100 days in one of the world's worst tragedies. During their talk, they shared with JT their personal experiences of devastating loss. They told JT that he would overcome his personal tragedy like they had. To thank them, JT started "Newtown Helps Rwanda", in an effort to raise money for their educations.
After several months of fundraising, JT was able to Skype back to the same group and announce that he’d raised enough money to not only send Betty to college for a year, but also provide extra funding to care for her siblings that she was sole provider for.
Now, almost five years later, Newtown Helps Rwanda has raised and donated over $35,000, putting two Rwandans through college, opening poultry and fish farms in Uganda and much more! The movement has become a worldwide example of how powerful turning your own pain into action to help others can be.
JT Skypes with the Rwandans for the first time!
JT tells Betty he has raised enough for her to go to college for 1 year!
JT Lewis' mother, Scarlett, is the author of Nurturing, Healing Love, and also the Founder of The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. The movement collaborates with educators to develop school-based educational programs in an attempt to change the current culture of violence to one of safety, peace and love.
JT and Scarlett Lewis at the White House in December, 2018