Ending 2020 on a Hopeful Note

As we close out this unsettling year which brought so much sadness, hunger and stress to so many of our fellow citizens, we hope each of you can look forward to a much better new year. Our next program (in January, no meeting this month) will be one you won’t want to miss.

In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming holidays safely!

The holidays mean shopping, so heed the good advice to Shop Local! When you do, please remember Stuff, an artistic, eclectic lifestyle store in Brookside. Last November its owners generously hosted a successful GAGV fundraiser. This year you can make private shopping appointments or order online.

If your online shopping also includes Amazon, GAGV receives .5% of your purchases through the AmazonSmile program when you designate us your chosen charity. To benefit GAGV, all your Amazon shopping must start from you sign up, it’s completely seamless and adds no time to your shopping.

We Value Your Membership

As the year draws to a close most of us become more reflective. We think about our priorities and the issues we care most about. Your reading this newsletter shows that preventing gun violence is important to you. Hopefully it’s worthy of even more of your support.

How? By becoming a GAGV member! Your membership adds another important voice to our collective advocacy efforts in curbing gun violence. Even if you can’t personally devote time or energy, your membership also helps finance our myriad projects. They are ongoing, despite the challenges of limited person-to-person contact. Here’s one prime example:

  • Since its beginning, our Lock It For Love (LIFL) gun safety education program has distributed more than 3,700 free gun locks at more than 130 community events.
  • Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, LIFL volunteers revamped their methods and continued giving free gun locks during drive-through food distributions hosted by other community groups.

Whether renewing your membership or joining for the first time, you can feel good about being part of a compassionate, engaged group of women and men always looking for new ways to keep children and families safe from gun violence.

Thank you for your past or your future support! As you make your end-of-the-year decisions, consider stepping up from being a GAGV supporter to becoming a GAGV member. Your membership (Individual, Family or Grand) reinforces our advocacy efforts to ensure a more peaceful, positive and hopeful future. Clearly your membership gives value to both GAGV and you!

Visit our website or mail a check to GAGV, at P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207. Our first new member will receive a special thank you: a $10 gift card to Pryde’s Old Westport. One more way to Shop Local!

    Remembering December 14, 2012: Sandy Hook

    Eight years after Sandy Hook, families and friends of those who survived wonder what else was lost when 20 first-graders and six teachers and administrators were killed in the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, CT.

    “To say the whole town of families and friends suffered from PTSD is not exaggerating,” Kathleen Glueck, one of the founders of the original Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, wrote in an email this fall. “Survivors are victims, too.”

    Some studies refer to them as “homicide co-victims” and have found they can suffer lingering feelings of guilt or responsibility, anxiety when reminded of the event, strained relationships with family and friends, fears of recurrence and lost confidence in themselves and their futures.

    On the day of the shooting, one of Kathleen’s eight grandchildren, along with his classmates, was hidden by their music teacher in the music room cabinets. All survived. “But there was a profound loss of innocence in their lives, of trust in the world around them,” Kathleen wrote.

    He and his classmates are now high school seniors, considering their options. Kathleen, a teacher for 30 years, noted, “We will never know how much that extreme trauma at such a young age has played a part in their development. How has it shaped who they are today? There will always be lingering questions about the effects of that tragedy.”

    Retired teacher Linda Alhart, who started GAGV despite no family connection to Sandy Hook, still feels its effect, too. Even now while watching movie westerns with her husband she wears headphones because “I don’t want to hear the gunshots.”

    Eight years and counting.

    (Sadly, this year COVID-19 prevents us from having our usual demonstration commemorating the anniversary.)

    Decreasing the Risk of Teen Suicide through Sources of Strength (SOS)

    Teaching teens how to discover and focus on the positive aspects of their lives, then develop the emotional strength to fend off negative circumstances can help decrease the risk of suicide.

    That was the message at our November program, on Zoom with Sondra Wallace, Coordinator of the Greater KC Mental Health Coalition and the You Be You Youth Coordinator for programs of Jewish Family Services Kansas City. Sondra is also a certified trainer for the Sources of Strength (SOS) program used in schools in the metro area. SOS is a program of the local SPEAK UP Foundation.

    The eight sources of strength include family support, positive friends, mentors, activities, generosity, spirituality, physical health and mental health. Of those, Sondra said generosity was the most powerful in healing. She also emphasized gratitude and its role in “flipping the switch in our heads” when feeling overwhelmed.

    In these troubled times of increased teen suicide, the SOS program is especially important to GAGV. We’re fortunate both Sondra and Jennifer Levinson, a GAGV member who introduced it to us in August, are bringing meaningful insights to area teens. (See below for the link to a relevant story from The Washington Post.)

    With No December Meeting, There’s Time to Spend With These Articles and Podcasts

    From the Gun Violence in Missouri reporting project of the Kansas City Star:
    (note: opening links from the Kansas City Star requires either a print or digital subscription)

    Guns and Domestic Violence: Springfield’s high rates of gun violence, domestic abuse are linked, local leaders say

    Plus an editorial in response: Why won’t Missouri Gov. Mike Parson listen to police on guns and domestic violence?

    Guns and Public Health: Missouri’s poor public health response drives gun violence and COVID, doctors say

    From the Washington Post on how families respond to teen suicide: For months, he helped his son keep suicidal thoughts at bay. Then came the pandemic.The article includes this poignant excerpt about one family:

    “… the haphazard way America has handled the pandemic contributed to their son’s death. But they also question why it was so easy for their son to buy a shotgun on the day he decided to kill himself, even as other businesses were shut down. ‘How are gun shops considered essential in the middle of a pandemic?'”

    Guns as gifts: Booming Business: Guns Are a Hot Gift Item This Holiday Season

    GAGV president Judy Sherry’s Nov 27th Letter to the Editor calls for common ground. 

    Local Podcast Series: No Compromise

    This timely series is co-hosted by Chris Haxel of KCUR’s Guns & America reporting collaborative. The series explores the gun rights advocacy movement that’s to the right of even the NRA, including the story of the three Dorr brothers who play a major role in the movement.

      Calendar of Events

      Monday December 14

      Eighth anniversary of Sandy Hook tragedy. Thinking of all who were lost and those who survived.

      Monthly Membership Meeting
      Monday, January 25
      Zoom, 4:00-5:00 pm

      The first program of 2021: The Year of Listening to Different Voices

        Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

        P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

        Donate to Grandparents Against Gun Violence

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