Daily Updates

For the most up-to-date information, follow us on Facebook. Our latest Facebook posts are listed below.


Welcome to #Soulfulsunday at #TheAnaGraceProject!

Children are little people who rely on the adults around them to understand the world and feel safe. When you are communicating with the children in your life, remember that they are not rational, logical, or predictable. They are concrete, spontaneous and seemingly illogical.

The following are tips that I encourage parents, teachers and caregivers to practice in order to develop positive communication and safety & security in the child-adult relationships.

A note: Some people carry a belief that children need to just do what they are told without asking why or exploring alternatives. CHILDRENS BRAINS ARE WIRED TO EXPLORE. This is how they learn. When we demand compliance without exploration (with the exception of circumstances that jeopardize safety) we are preventing their brains from developing properly.

Here are some things you can practice. You will find that the strategies are effective in improving communication and connection with many people in your life in addition to the kids.

1. Notice the little conversation openers.
It can be excruciating to tear yourself away from what you’re doing to focus on a child's question, but how you respond to his/her overture is crucial in building closeness. When you take the time, it’s an indication of whether he/she can count on you to talk when he needs you. This is much more important than any conversation you try to initiate.

2. Ask nonjudgmental questions that require real answers.
For example:
* What are the three most interesting things about you?
* Name five reasons you’re glad to be alive.
* If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
* If you had a time machine for a day, what would you do with it?
* What’s your favorite song? Why?
* What’s your favorite movie?
* If you could have a conversation with anyone in history, who would it be?
* What would you want to ask them?
* What is your earliest memory?
* What is your idea of an ideal day?
* If you were invisible where would you go and what would you do?
* What is a quality you wish you could have more of?
* If you could ask anyone for help, who would it be and why?
* What scares you the most and why?
* What makes you feel better?
* What do you worry about the most?
* What traits do you most admire in other people?
* Did you help anyone today?
* Did you have a chance to be kind to anyone today?
* Does it matter if a person makes a moral or immoral choice, if no one ever knows?
* Is it ever ok to cheat, in academics, sports, business?
* How do you feel when someone is angry with you? How do you act?
* Are you a "cup is half full" or "cup is half empty" kind of person?
* What do you do to cheer yourself up when you feel down?
* What hurts your feelings? How do you act when your feelings are hurt?
* When you get really angry, how do you help yourself calm down?
* When you make a mistake, are you able to repair things so that you end up feeling ok?
* What are the different kinds of courage? How do you define bravery?
* Who is your best friend and why?
* What traits do you look for in friends?
* Do you believe in God? Why or why not? If so, how do you picture God?
* Do you ever talk to God?
* Is spirituality the same as religion or different?
* Has religion played a positive or negative role in history?
* Do you have good friends who practice religions that are different from ours? Acquaintances? How are you like them? How are you different?
* Do you think there is one best religion? Why or why not?
* What do you think happens after death?
* What do you think is the meaning of life? Why are we alive?

3. Don't jump in with solutions and advice.

4.If you don't get the response you want to your overtures, step back and watch how you initiate.Are you inviting a positive response? If you make an overture and are greeted with something hurtful -- disdain, sarcasm, or blankness -- try not to respond with anger. Instead, show your vulnerability and hurt. Say "Ouch!" and turn away (before you give in to the temptation to lash out.) The child will likely feel badly about having hurt you, especially since you haven't aroused his/her defenses by attacking back. Remind yourself that the slight was probably unintentional and that being close to your child is your priority.

5.Listen.
This is, of course, the single the most important part of helping people open up. Don't talk, listen. Reflect back what they’re saying so they know you understand, and then be quiet so they can talk more. If they don't keep talking, you can ask another question, but keep your approach curious and open rather than frustrated and demanding.

Remember, adults are the ones responsible for staying calm and modeling the types of interactions we want to see our kids engage in. If you find that you have a hard time with this, know that you are not alone and that you can find support and help from MFT's, who are experts in relationships.

#LoveWins. It saves lives!

💗 Lauren Pedersen, LMFT
AGP Clinical Consultant and SBCS Implementation Specialist
Lpedersen@anagraceproject.org
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

We hope you will attend Ana's birthday. 💜. Share. Share away..... ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

It's been 1,533 days since I put two children on a bus to an elementary school and only got one back. I know a little bit about weary. I know what's it's like to feel all hope is lost. I know what it's like to not have proper supports in place. I know what it's like to witness "we shall never forget" turn in to "Happy Friday!"- and what should be sacred remembering blasphemed over and over again.

I also know that we must move forward for the people counting on us that ARE still here. And I know that you matter.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made for this moment. Our students need you. Our community needs you. Your colleagues and neighbors actually really need you too. This world needs your voice.

My story is widely known. But this fact doesn't negate or make anyone else's story any smaller. And while I don't know all of them- I love the stories you have shared. Your stories of courage. Your stories of holding on. Your stories of how you've applied #lovewins in your own lives. You've been so generous in sharing them with me. Make sure you share them with each other.

Somewhere, there is a teacher that will go on one more day because of a joke you tell or a smile you provide.

Somewhere, there is parent that will go on one more day because of hope you inspired.

Somewhere, there is a student who will fearlessly face the future. Because you taught them not to fear. Need evidence? See picture below....

Kick ass for joy, today. Kick ass for hope. Kick ass for love. But please don't kick your own ass. Self-compassion is the key to doing any healing work. You cannot sustainably give to others what you do not give to yourself.

You are enough.

Have a blessed weekend and thank you Pat Eaton and the Associated Press for featuring our collaborative with NB on Monday!

We are doing great work! And we shall not forget those left behind or those still here. You can learn about our work here: www.anagraceproject.org

Also, please wish Ana's dad a gentle day for this Friday which also happens to be his birthday.

💜 Nelba 💜
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Fran Koop, Jessica Rodriguez and 23 others like this

View previous comments

The Ana Grace ProjectOur sound track for the day: itun.es/us/peybgb?i=1174765911

Great Is Thy Faithfulness2 days ago   ·  4
Avatar

Marcus BaylorLove you all! Happy Birthday Jimmy! Pray that God peace and strength continue to cover you all! #LoveWins

2 days ago   ·  3

2 Replies

Avatar

Jessica AnnYou are amazing. 1,533 days.

2 days ago   ·  4

5 Replies

Avatar

Lorna SzalayNelba, you continue to be an inspiration to others as you navigate through your grief. Wishing you and your family a peaceful and loving weekend, and a very Happy Birthday to Jimmy!

2 days ago   ·  4
Avatar

Consuelo EspinosaThank you Nelba for sharing your heart 💜, reflections on day 1,533 and for the words of wisdom on the importance of having JOY! 💜💜💜 💜 October 13, 2012 my granddaughter, Sitara was born...she is my "Sweet Potato" my "Twister"...my Siti...she and her younger sister, Brisa fill my heart with joy 💜 and my commitment to all children & early educators is to speak up and advocate for safe environments...in memory of Ana Grace 💜💜💜 ¡Feliz Cumpleaños y bendiciones Mr. Greene! 🙏🏾

2 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Jane DunleavyPerfect words as always but especially meaningful to me today. Recently lost my 91 year old dad. Have been feeling so guilty about my grief...he was old, I shouldn't be sad, right?!? Well, I'm heartbroken and sad and IT IS ok! I need to give myself a break and grieve. Thanks to your words I'll try to do just that. Happy birthday to Ana's and Isaiah's daddy!!

2 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Zulmira Carvalho Santos GalligerYour words are beautiful and inspiring. I grew up in Danbury and lived eight years in Stratford before we moved to Katy, Texas. Although I did not know any of the beautiful students and teachers, I feel connected to the community. ❤ I now live in a state where they think so differently about gun control laws. 😔 Never EverForgotten ... your inspiring words will be shared with my teenagers who 144 days ago lost their 18 old cousin in a drowning accident while duck hunting.

2 days ago
Avatar

Anahid KhachoyanGentle day indeed to Jimmy. Ukh, heart wrenching to fathom these milestones without a core family member. I continue to hold you all in prayer and have sincere admiration for you... Peace to you all and healing, one day/hour/minute/second at a time...

2 days ago
Avatar

Sheila SullivanSending so many warm loving thoughts to you and family. And happy birthday to only the second person I know who shares mine 🎂 Love wins

2 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Cynthia Guerra-HolguinYour words always move me! Happy Birthday to Ana's Papi. She is happily celebrating with him in heaven above! God Bless you and your beautiful family! Love wins!

2 days ago
Avatar

Pat TaylorTruly we shall never forget your caramel Princess💜 On those days when your heart is weary, let Jesus carry you. Imagine him singing this song over you youtu.be/OlahGpiNWBM

2 days ago
Avatar

Danielle ZimmermanSo sorry. So sorry about those little ones and their teachers, parents, and our nation. Such evil and so hard to comprehend. God is our only source of help.

2 days ago
Avatar

Faith BishopThat first sentence. 😖 Every parents' worse nightmare. 1,533 days and you are still moving forward in so many positive ways. Happy Birthday, Ana's Dad! May you walk in blessing and peace.

2 days ago
Avatar

Melissa VegaYou have such a way with words Nelba. Happy Birthday to your hubby.

2 days ago   ·  2
Avatar

Anne PannoneYour words. This image. Who could possibly not want to add Never Ever Forgotten to their daily to do list. Who?

2 days ago   ·  2
Avatar

Linda Egan LigottiI will continue to pray for all the Sandy Hook families🙏...and remember your kind words.

2 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Damaris Torres-MichaudThank you Nelba I needed to read this today! Happy birthday Jimmy!🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈

2 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Janet CorretteWishing you many, many gentle days.

2 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Yolanda Figueroa Ward💜beautifully spoken ~ happy birthday to Ana's Dad 💜 LOVE WINS 💜

2 days ago
Avatar

Shelia Wray GreenHappy Birthday Jimmy! RIH Ana Grace. Peace on earth to her family!!💙💚💛💜

2 days ago
Avatar

Judie CavanaughHappy Birthday, Jimmy Greene.! Thank you for your words and constant hope. 💚💜💚 (from a friend who grew up in Sandy Hook who is now a teacher in New Haven)

2 days ago
Avatar

Mayra Alayón HoughWords of wisdom. Bless day and weekend to your husband and all the family. 🙏💜

2 days ago
Avatar

Barbara Cedela Beautylove to you both and a Happy Birthday to your hubby. Love certainly does win. ❤❤

2 days ago
Avatar

Maria DonnellyKnow that the DiLoreto community is thinking of you and praying for your family daily.💜

2 days ago
Avatar

Heidi Murken Borkenhagenthank you for speaking a word of grace today. i needed it. holding you and your family in my heart.

2 days ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Mike Haines is one of our talented interns at Chamberlain Elementary and has given permission for us to post the attached video as a beautiful example of spontaneous #lovewinning. At The Ana Grace Project we believe that music and movement are some of the most powerful ways to connect and heal. What happened when you played this video? Immediate joy? Thank you Mike and whoever donated the ukulele to the Love Wins FRC!!

💗 Lauren Pedersen, LMFT
AGP Clinical Consultant and SBCS Implementation Specialist
Lpedersen@anagraceproject.org
... See MoreSee Less

Consuelo Espinosa, Lauren Weihl Crowley and 21 others like this

The Ana Grace ProjectWe can't wait for you to sing with the kids! -nmg 💜

3 days ago   ·  2
Avatar

Jennifer AndersonI still can't believe you figured out how to make that little guitar play! Haha so awesome!!

3 days ago   ·  2
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

I am thankful for my team. I am thankful there are days I don't have to be the "strongest" person in the room.

Because no one should ever shoulder grief alone. And we are doing such good work!

Thankful!

Nelba 💜
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Heather Casdorph, Sandy Frank and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Jennifer AndersonSuch a great picture!! 🙂

3 days ago

3 Replies

Avatar

Doris SantiagoI am so happy for you. It takes time yet the strength of others makes you strong. Dios te bendice siempre mamita.

3 days ago
Avatar

Mary Brennan GordonI am thankful that you are surrounded by love! Thank you for doing so many wonderful things in honor of Ana's life

3 days ago
Avatar

Selene AllisonLove the smiles 🙂 Thanks for all you do...one step at the time 🙂

3 days ago
Avatar

Melissa VegaYou sure are touching a lot of lives. Wonderful work

3 days ago
Avatar

Anita FazioLauren!!!! And Barkley?

3 days ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook