Nearly 50 North Canton area residents of all ages gathered Thursday morning to make hundreds of paper snowflakes designed to provide cheer for the victimized students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, when they return to school in January.
“Snowflakes for Sandy Hook” is one of several nationwide assistance movements spearheaded by the Connecticut PTSA on behalf of the Sandy Hook Elementary PTA. The National PTA joined in, sending out emails inviting PTA members across the U.S. to start crafting.
“When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to ensure that the students are welcomed back by a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible,” the National PTA posted on its website.
North Canton resident Torie Utterback was a recipient of the National PTA’s email reaching out for help.
“The first idea was ‘Welcome Students to a Winter Wonderland.’ I finished reading just that part and immediately my wheels started turning,” Utterback said.
She called her sister, Laurie Thewes, to see if the party room at Elite Sports in Uniontown was being utilized over winter break. Utterback said her sister “graciously opened the doors to us and let us use the space” from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday.
Utterback then started inviting people to help out – and 45 to 50 children and adults showed up.
“It was a combination of friends of mine, friends of my girls, my amazing Bunco friends, parents I have met from my girls' schools, etc. I am happy to say anyone there I consider a friend of mine,” she explained.
Her friend Julia Allshouse provided a lot of the crafting supplies, and many attendees (including Utterback) brought items helpful for making and decorating paper snowflakes.
“I provided hot chocolate and a light snack, but the supplies were truly a group effort. (Many) people brought scissors – which was extremely helpful,” Utterback said.
By the time they were done the group had made hundreds of snowflakes.
“Like all snowflakes, each one was unique. There was plenty of glitter glue, markers and beads. And I can attest to glitter. Lots of it,” Utterback said with a smile. “There were some painted, and some simple, classic paper snowflakes.”
While there was plenty of chatter during the event, the violence that occurred Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary wasn’t among the topics. And that was by design.
“I thought (Thursday’s event) would be a good opportunity to get children together over break and make the snowflakes. It was so open ended, and we decided that the message was that there is a school that needs some help decorating, but we left the topic of the tragedy to be discussed at home. We felt it is a personal family choice and to not discuss it as a group,” Utterback explained.
Want to make snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary students? If so, have them in the mail by Jan. 12 addressed to: Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514.