This weekend I delivered packages of food and toys to families in need in Brooklyn. As the excited children greeted me at their apartment doors, I could not help but think about the children in Newtown, Connecticut who would never greet friends, or friendly strangers wearing reindeer antlers, again.

Friday’s latest tragic and senseless killing of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown leaves me both unbearably sad and also stymied. First and foremost, my heart goes out to the people of Newtown, and especially to the families whose lives have been changed forever.

This tragedy made me think about how hard the members of so many Junior Leagues work to create a better future for children. Leagues have created pediatric medical clinics, served as mentors, developed afterschool programs and even programs that have become part of school curriculums. The reality today seems to be that even with all of the good work going on, innocent lives can be taken in a moment anywhere.

I am stymied as to how to end what seems to be an increasing number of individual acts of violence. Is it gun control? Is it mental health? Can safeguards actually be up in place to prevent further violence? How can every school, every movie theater, every place of worship, every public place be made safe? How do we create a more caring and compassionate world where these random acts simply would not occur? We can do what we can, as individuals and as Junior League members, hopeful that each of our good acts may contribute to one less act of violence… but what more? I don’t know.

Susan E. Danish
Executive Director
The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.