Hundreds of community members, including local government officials, gathered at Brookfield’s Fox Hill Inn early Wednesday morning, February 3, for the 8th Annual “Hearts of Hope” breakfast, a fundraiser for the Women’s Center. The Fox Hill Inn generously donated 100% of the food and service for this sold-out event.
Honored today with the Service Above Self award was longtime Women’s Center supporter and tireless volunteer, Lesley Fratto. “Lesley has served on every [Women’s Center] event committee we have,” said Pat Zachman, Women’s Center CEO.
Roig-DeBellis, a former first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who saved her entire class from the tragic events of December 14, 2012 by piling them into the tiny classroom bathroom, has chosen hope. And today, Roig-DeBellis implored all present to do the same.
Quoting famous poet Robert Frost, Roig-DeBellis said, “Ever since I was a little girl and my mom introduced me to Robert Frost, I have loved the poem The Road Not Taken.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged into a wood, and I -
I took the one less's traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
“When I reached a crossroads in my journey back from that terrible day in 2012, I chose hope. And that has made all the difference,” Roig-DeBellis humbly said.
Roig-DeBellis founded social networking platform Classes 4 Classes, to spread hope, and positive social change throughout the world. Beginning with the youngest members of our society, the K-8 students, Classes 4 Classes is teaching every student in the United States: compassion, caring, kindness, empathy, and consideration.
“After experiencing a tragedy immeasurable in its scope, I’ve come to realize that there are no words of explanation, and there never will be. Instead, we need to make a choice for ourselves, our students, our nation, our world. If we choose love, kindness, empathy, compassion and hope, which I so believe we should, then we need to make a point to teach these things,” says Roig-DeBellis.
Roig-DeBellis clearly exemplifies the work and mission of the Women’s Center: to serve the needs of individuals, families and the community with prevention, crisis intervention and support services with regard to domestic violence, sexual assault and other major life crises.
Learn more about Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, a courageous, resilient, and selfless young lady, and her nonprofit by clicking here.
Thank you to Barbara Manners, the Hearts of Hope breakfast chair, the Fox Hill Inn for donating your beautiful venue, and to all of Inn’s waitstaff who served with a smile and donated all of their time. A big thank you also to Praxair, the Hearts of Hope Benefactor.
Founded in 1975, this year marks 41 years that the Women’s Center has been a safe haven for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties.
To learn more about the Women’s Center click here.
To become a volunteer, click here.
*photos by Sloan Howard