The second annual Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Awards ceremony was held Saturday night in Newtown, honoring more than 40 children and teenagers for their kind actions in memory of one of the victims of the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The awards ceremony is the premiere event for the Newtown Kindness organization, which was founded by Aaron Carlson in the aftermath of the tragedy. Carlson’s daughter, Ava, had been Charlotte Bacon’s friend since they were babies in the same play group.
Joel Bacon, Charlotte’s father, said his daughter would have turned 8 years old Saturday.
“Taking that and being able to turn it into something that’s really beautiful. … I’m excited about these kids,” Bacon said. “What these kids are doing, it inspires other people.”
Organizers said thousands of nominations poured in for this year’s awards. The award winners are selected by members of the Newtown Kindness Board, including Charlotte’s grandfather, Dan Bacon.
“We hear about a 4- or 5-year-old kid that helped someone get up from a playground,” Carlson said. “Then we hear about 17-, 18-year-old kids who start their own radio station to fight against bullying.”
Aniyah King, 8, of Texas, gave bouquets of flowers to hospital patients on Martin Luther King Day, a good deed that “makes me have more self-esteem,” she said Saturday night.
Another award recipient, Lucia St. Lorenzo, is from Newtown. The 6-year-old fed Newtown police officers working on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sent them Valentine’s Day cards.
“It makes me feel happy because I’m making people feel happy,” she said.
Corey Taylor, 16, flew in from Las Vegas for the ceremony at town hall. She hosts a weekly Internet radio show. The topics vary, but bullying is at the core of the conversation.
“I tell them to go talk to their teachers, their parents, even their friends that they can trust,” Taylor said. “Get help. That’s our main thing is to let them know to get help.”
More than 40 teens from 14 states were honored Saturday, but Newtown Kindness believes that no act is too small, and so every entry is recognized with a certificate.