BLOOMFIELD -- On this anniversary of Sandy Hook, love and kindness are winning the day at an early childhood school in Bloomfield.
Rebecca Murphy and Haley Ryan planted a seed of kindness in 2014 and since that day, ’Kindness Day’ has blossomed beyond the walls of the school.
For both women, kindness is personal.
"This became a day here because one of my very closest and very most loved friends was Victoria Soto," said Murphy.
A picture of Vicki is a permanent fixture in Rebecca's classroom at the Wintonbury Early Childhood Magnet School in Bloomfield. It is where on this day, the kids' kindness burst from inside the walls and literally spilled outside -- chalk art with kind expressions were scrawled in the stone.
"Kindness is something that can literally and figuratively change the world," said Murphy. "Kindness can do anything,"
The day is much more than the posters and art that adorned the hallways. It’s about words, deeds...and a few hugs too.
"Today is a day where we’re just all giving each tiger hugs and saying I love you and I’m here for you and it’s really beautiful," said Haley.
Since 2014, Wintonbury’s Kindness Day has grown in size and scope. "Everyone unanimously agreed that it was such a powerful and positive day here, that they wanted to do it every year," explained Haley. They deliver community care packages to police and firefighters — who visit the school to give kindness right back.
"When an authority figure takes that time to say to a child, you're important and you matter — it brings it to another level," said Ryan.
Kindness Day was built on the little things.
"They might seem like very small insignificant gestures but it’s completely huge because one child sees another child do that, and then another child does it and another and another and pretty soon they’ve all learned what kindness is," said Murphy.
It might be zipping a friend’s coat, making a friendship bracelet or saying please and thank you. "
Together it will go around our school, our town and our world," said Murphy.
Shepherding young lives to pay it forward — and remember — that love wins. "We’re trying to do that with the memory of those from Sandy Hook in our hearts," said Ryan.
Both women want to thank their kids, the parents, their co-workers, the community, friends and strangers who pitched in to spread those seeds of kindness.