OpEd: Newtown tragedy demonstrates the importance of our region’s nonprofit sector

To the Editor:

The tragic events at Sandy Hook School and the overwhelming pain we feel as a community at the taking of those innocent lives is something no-one will ever forget.

No response, no level of support and care, will ever replace the loss felt by the families of the victims, the residents of Newtown and those in the broader community who have been impacted.

But, mixed within the pain and anguish, demonstrated during the most horrific times we could ever imagine, we have felt blessed by the care, compassion and selfless acts of our fellow citizens and intensely proud of the way our entire community has come together in support.

Nothing has been more impressive than the strong and steady response of our county’s nonprofits to this tragedy.

Even as the news was breaking and the details still emerging, our nonprofit sector was gearing up for a response on the scale of which few had experienced before. Particularly Fairfield County agencies dedicated to serving children, families and those in need of counseling and mental health support – too numerous to name – were heading to Newtown to bring the resources and expertise only they could provide.

We should not be surprised.

Fairfield County is blessed with a strong and vibrant nonprofit sector which serves as a safety net for those who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

Day in and day out, these organizations provide the kind of care and support across the county that they are now directing with focused attention on the families and residents in Newtown.

We can not underestimate the enormity of the task ahead of us as a community, the months, years and decades it will take for us all to, if not heal fully, at least come to grips with the tragedy we have all experienced.

Our capable and dedicated nonprofits will be the ones ensuring that we have the tools and resources to find our own path towards healing.

We should all be grateful to the nonprofits serving our towns and our region, and for the work they do each day to ensure that no-one in Fairfield County is alone and that all of us have a resource we can call on when times are at their worst.

Please join me in thanking the staff, boards, volunteers and supporters of Fairfield County’s nonprofits.

Fairfield County is a stronger, more prepared community thanks to their work.

Juanita T. James

President & CEO

Fairfield County Community Foundation

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