On Tuesday, December 12th, leading gun violence prevention organization Sandy Hook Promise hosted their inaugural New York City Benefit Evening at The Plaza Hotel. The soiree attracted advocates and supporters from across the country who came out to honor Vice President Joe Biden and PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi for their extraordinary commitment to gun violence prevention.
“We are honored to recognize Vice President Biden and Indra Nooyi at our first New York City benefit. They are incredible champions of our efforts to help stop violence before it starts,” said Nicole Hockley, Managing Director and co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of Dylan, who was 6-years old when he was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy.
The star-studded event attracted hundreds of guests and performer for the night Sheryl Crow and host Gayle King. Guests for the night included Sophia Bush, Joe Montana, Victor Cruz, Justin Tuck and Robert Kraft.
“This is a night about hope,” said Victor Cruz during the cocktail hour.
In addition to celebrating their successes and looking ahead to the future, the event also commemorated the 5-year remembrance of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In less than three years, SHP has trained over 2 million people across all 50 states with its evidenced-based Know The Signs violence prevention programs. The programs focus on mental health & wellness, identification of at-risk behaviors and how to take action and get help before a situation escalates.
SHP’s four Know The Signs violence prevention programs – which include Start With Hello, Say Something, Signs of Suicide and Safety Assessment & Intervention – are offered free to schools and organizations across the country. SHP’s programs have helped stopped multiple school shootings, suicides and other acts of violence, as well as reduced incidences of bullying nationwide, and helped many young people get the mental health services they need. Proceeds from the evening will help fund these life-saving programs.
“After experiencing the greatest of losses, Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley started Sandy Hook Promise with the goal of making this country safer for other children,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “It has been an immense honor to stand next to Mark and Nicole for the past five years, and I intend to continue working with them until no parent has to suffer the loss of a child as a result of gun violence. We have much more work to do. “
2017 has been a groundbreaking year for SHP. It recently launched Say Something Digital. The program is based on SHP’s Say Something violence prevention program, and gives schools the option to train students in the program by simulating real-world scenarios in an interactive digital course. SHP is also launching the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, which allows youth and adults to submit secure and anonymous safety concerns to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals BEFORE they hurt themselves or others. The system allows for tips to be submitted through the web, toll-free crisis line or with the Say Something app on their mobile phone.
Earlier this year, SHP joined forces with SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) to work together to help sustain SHP’s programs though SAVE’s 2200 student clubs in schools across the country. SHP also added the important and impactful Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program to its Know The Signs programs. SOS is aimed at middle and high schools, and combines an educational curriculum that raises awareness about suicide and depression, as well as depression screening to identify youths at risk.
SHP has made great strides in the gun violence prevention space, however there is still much work to be done. Over a half million acts of gun violence occur annually in the U.S. Every day, 314 people are shot, and of those 41 are children under the age of 18. SHP believes that gun violence is preventable when you know the signs. Their mission is to train youth and adults in their Know The Signs programs, and to stop violence BEFORE it starts.
For more information, visit www.sandyhookpromise.org