This spot from NBC news is heartwarming and has golden retrievers.
I know a lot of attention is being paid to Newtown right now (which is, probably, not a good thing), but I think the lesson of Newtown is that it's really any town, every town, your town.
For most of us, direct opportunity to help those in Newtown is limited. Sending mail, for instance, results in an avalanche of cards and letters...which must be read by screeners and security before being passed on. After some past tragedies, an avalanche of letters and cards has been destroyed for fear one person would send something hateful or contaminated, and personnel simply couldn't keep up. Operation Write Home, which screens letters to the troops, sent out an email suggesting that people not send cards and letters because it creates a burden in an already burdened place.
Monetary donations are appropriate for funeral expenses and for charities with feet-on-the-ground outreach within in the community. ABC News has a list on its website of places to donate. But be careful and stick with well-known, established charities...tragedies like this bring out quite a lot of scammers.
I think there are two more important things most of us can do to help those in Newtown.
1. Pray. Prayers are never a burden to anyone!
2. Support outreach in your own community. Preventing events like what happened last Friday is almost impossible, but strengthening your own community with your time, talents, and gifts makes sense not just in the short term but long term as well. In other words, let this tragedy change how you behave in your own community. If you're just living in your community, look for ways to connect within it. Reach out, smile, donate locally, pay attention to needs. Why not even try a random act of kindness?
As wonderful as golden retriever therapy dogs are--and they are wonderful--they leave town. The people of Newtown will be forever changed by this loss. Will we let it change us, too, in ways that forge positive connections in our own communities?
I hope so.