Like many other things this year, our annual event looked a bit different than past years! A virtual event doesn’t allow for the exact same experience, but I am so proud of our team for getting creative and finding ways to engage our audience and still put on a meaningful event! Scarlett & JT Lewis appeared as our keynote speakers sharing their incredible story of grief and loss that has turned into a message of hope and growth.
Nearly 400 people joined together with The Kim Foundation to hear Scarlett & JT’s message based on four principles of courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion in action. The message was so timely and powerful given the uncertainty we have faced this year.
Incase you’re not familiar with Scarlett’s story, she founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement after her six-year-old son was murdered during the Sandy Hook Tragedy in December 2012. Shortly after his death, she decided to be part of the solution to the issues that we were/are seeing in society, and that caused the tragedy. She created the Movement and became an advocate for social and emotional learning (SEL) that teaches children how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy relationships.
According to Scarlett, learning to choose love even when life is difficult will change your life. So much of her message was incredibly relevant and aligns so closely with much of our work. Being able to teach SEL, not only in schools but on a broader level in our community, could make such a positive impact on youth and so many of us. It also lies at the very base of early intervention and prevention. It may seem like a simple concept, but it can be surprisingly difficult for some, and are skills we need to teach, not just expect to be engrained in others. SEL helps people make good decisions, work towards positive goals, while caring for and nurturing the relationships around them.
We are excited to see what steps are in store in the partnership we have formed with Scarlett and the Choose Love Movement and how we can help extend her reach into Nebraska with this meaningful work. For more information on Scarlett and her work through the Choose Love Movement please visit: https://chooselovemovement.org/.
On behalf of The Kim Foundation’s board and staff, I want to thank our generous sponsors and partners who made our 2020 event such a success! We could not do our work without each and every one of you! For a full list of our sponsors this year, please visit: https://www.thekimfoundation.org/annual-event/.
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation since 2011, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications and advancement. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves on the Executive Committee for Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the 2015 Hill Day State Captain for the state of Nebraska, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, Connections Advisory Board and the Project Propel Planning Group.