In Memory of the Lives Lost in Newtown, Kindness Scholarship Established for Southington Students

December 1, 2014 - They vowed to have their daughters grow up in a community inspired by the beautiful acts of kindness that have resulted from the tragedy in Newtown almost two years ago. And the proceeds from a 2013 event that they created in Southington to showcase just that – acts of kindness - have established the Because of 26 Kindness Award Scholarship Fund at the Main Street Community Foundation.

Erin Furniss and Lisa Wrubleski, mothers and Southington residents, were deeply affected by the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. But out of the tears and sadness they saw something wonderful emerge. People all around the world made efforts to do something to honor the lives lost and to make kindness and acts of goodwill an everyday occurrence. They decided to make that happen in Southington.

In early 2013, Erin and Lisa established Because of 26, a project that would not only be a lasting tribute to those whose lives were lost that day, but also a living reminder of the lessons that came from the tragedy. Because of 26 came to fruition on June 15, 2013, when an event was held in downtown Southington. Neighbors came together to have a special day of fun, write words of kindness on Southington’s Rails to Trails and plant butterfly bushes.

“The butterfly is a symbol of eternal life,” stated Erin and Lisa. “Along with the butterfly bushes, a mural on the Rails to Trails featuring 26 butterflies will serve as a constant reminder to the residents of Southington to keep acts of kindness in the front of their minds and to help make our town one where we are proud to pass this wonderful way of life on to our children.”

The Because of 26 event was very successful and exceeded expectations. With the remaining event proceeds, the Because of 26 Kindness Award Scholarship Fund was established in 2014. A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a graduating Southington High School senior who exemplifies what the event was about – kindness and promoting that within Southington.

“Erin and I are thrilled and honored to be able to write the final chapter of this beautiful story by rewarding students right here in town for their kindness,” stated Lisa.

The first Because of 26 Kindness Award Scholarship will be awarded in 2015 and applications will be accepted beginning in January. The 2015 Scholarship Directory, which lists all scholarships and eligibility criteria, and the application will be available on theFoundation’s website, www.mainstreetfoundation.org.