Nicole Hockley's six-year son Dylan was one of 26 students and adult staff members who were killed during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn, in December 2012.
On Tuesday at Hermosa Valley School, Hockley's Sandy Hook Promise, which she co-founded with other family members who lost a loved one on that day, joined forces with the Los Angeles Kings to help train youth and adults in local schools and communities in violence prevention programs.
“We know that in schools everywhere, there are kids that are feeling alone, there are kids that are feeling invisible and isolated,” Hockley said Tuesday. “We have the opportunity to reach out to each other and support each other and create a connection. And it's these acts of connections that can help prevent a lot of horrible feelings, but also at its extreme—violence or self harm.”
The partnership with Sandy Hook Promise is part of the hockey club's ENOUGH social campaign launched in November following the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks that left 12 murdered.
Attending the Tuesday announcement was Kings President Luc Robitaille, a hall-of-fame hockey player. Kings employee Christiana Duarte was one of 58 killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017. The Thousand Oaks shooting took place just over a year later.
The Kings partnered with local schools to provide trauma kits for schools in the South Bay, but they felt it wasn't enough.
“When you're a sports team, you try to do the right thing... what can you do to make a difference?,” Robitaille said. “We had a bunch of people in our office who said, 'You know, it's not enough.”
Robitaille added after the press conference, “When we found out about Nicole and the Sandy Hook Promise, for us... giving a trauma kit its kind of a no-brainer, you have to do something, I hate that we have to do that. But then to be able to actually spread the message, to do something about it that can hopefully help, even if it helps one kid or one incident that we never knew could have happened, at the end of the day, that's where it is.”
Hermosa Beach City School District Superintendent Pat Escalante said Hermosa Beach was the first district to bring Sandy Hook Promise to South Bay schools. Through their partnership with the Kings, the district not only received trauma kits, but Children's Hospital Los Angeles provided training to use those trauma kits.
“I want to especially thank the teachers and staff who devote themselves every day to the safety of our children and who are the true first responders,” Escalante said.
The agreement is a three-year commitment by the Kings to Sandy Hook Promise to deliver the Know The Signs (KTS) programs to more than 65,000 youth/adults in middle and high schools in the Los Angeles region, including the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Torrance Unified School District.
KTS training teaches how to identify, intervene and get help for at-risk individuals before they hurt themselves or others through Sandy Hook Promise’s KTS gun violence prevention programs and the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS), according to a press release.
The Kings Care Foundation, whose mission is to “support children, military and under-served communities in Los Angeles by dedicating financial aid and in-kind resources to service and programs,” presented a check for $360,000 at Tuesday's event to support the partnership.
The Kings have agreed to invest $120,000 from 2019 through 2021 in funding to support Sandy Hook Promise's cost to train and sustain the program expansion in Los Angeles.