Hi families and friends,

If you receive my newsletters or read my blog posts you likely have children or spend a lot of time with children. Adopted or not, I think the vast majority of my readers have one thing in common, the children we love. The children we want to help be better human beings and the children we would do most anything for — especially to keep them safe.
So today my words are going to be a little rough, because I’m sad and angry and my heart is breaking.
On Tuesday, May 7th, Kendrick Castillo lost his life saving the lives of his friends. He was 18 years old (like many of our children) and only a few weeks away from high school graduation in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. He was the “best kid in the world” to his family. He was “selfless”, “brave” and “kind” to his friends. He was an “award winning” student. And he had a lot more life to live. Kendrick was one of the three students at Highlands STEM School who tried to tackle the shooter who had drawn a gun upon entering his classroom. He was shot in the chest. 
Kendrick Castillo lost his life saving the lives of his friends. 
Kendrick Castillo was a hero.
Most of my newsletters/blog posts are about helping you help your children, as is this one. But I’ll be honest this is the single saddest and most difficult newsletter I have ever written – 
because our kids should NEVER have to be heroes.
Did you know that the US has had 57 times as many school shootings as all the other major industrialized nations combinedThere have been 288 school shooting in the USA since January 9, 2009. That’s shocking isn’t it?

Did you know that more people have died or been injured in mass school shootings in the United States in the past 18 years than in the entire 20th century? In a new study, researchers have reviewed the history of mass school shootings in the U.S. and found the trends alarming. The good news, many believe there are solutions. I’m not here to push an agenda so you can read the solutions the article referenced above outlines, or not, but I’m curious …

How do you intend to keep your children safe from school shootings?

“For more than 130 years, Good Housekeeping has served as a go-to resource for almost everything in your life, bringing you immediate solutions and trusted, expert advice. Powered by the expertise of the century-old Good Housekeeping Institute, our editors are here to connect you with real-life experts and who-knew life tricks to get things done, and have fun doing them … Our philosophy is simple: Life should be full of pleasures, not chores.” — Good Housekeeping’s Mission
These days Good Housekeeping is teaching us how to keep our children safe from school shooters.

1. Teach your kids this mantra: run, hide, fight.
2. If you see something, say something.
3. Make sure your child understands school protocol.
4. Parents can help too — meet with local law enforcement, school administrators and the PTA.
5. If your child can run, do it in a zig-zag.
6. If your child can hide, hide behind something concrete.
7. If there’s nothing solid, at least hide out of sight.
8. When hiding, stay on hands and knees.
9. The bathroom shouldn’t be their first choice for hiding.
10. The adults should fight as a group.
11. If all else fails, look for a fire extinguisher.
12. Bottom line: Keep calm and carry on.
That article was so difficult for me to read this week, but that is our world. We MUST face this new reality. The full article is at the link above – and it’s really useful information. Please read it and make sure you talk to your kids. Drills at school are helpful but as parents we also have to talk to our children about school shootings. 
Another thing to think about – what is your family protocol?
Sadly, we must also think about that now. So what will you do if you get a call that your child’s school is in an active shooter lock down.
My family protocol:

  1. Don’t call his or her cell phone if there is an active school shooting. The gunman might hear the ring and target my child.
  2. Only send text messages.
  3. Know my kids’ teacher’s phone numbers (if possible) in case of an emergency.
  4. Be calm! If I don’t panic, my child won’t panic. That alone could save their lives.
  5. Say, “I love you” Every Single Morning! 

 If you, like me, are looking for solutions, check out the work of some amazing organizations that are working hard for change (click on the name to learn more):

Everytown for Gun Safety
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
The Brady Campaign
Americans for Responsible Solutions
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
I’m scared and I’m angry and I’m tired of feeling helpless. How about you? Let’s take action together!

Don’t hesitate to call or email me if you’d like to talk. And if you have some potential actions that you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate to comment below. I’d love to have some dialogue around this issue.

Although I’m grieving the terrible tragedy that happened Tuesday in Colorado (and that happens more frequently than we might like to admit in our country) action is the only solution. What actions will you take?
Be safe. Be kind. Give your child an extra hug today.
My very best to each of you,

Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/

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