But as much as it could have been anyone's child, it wasn't.
If anyone reading this has been personally touched by Olivia's story and would like to help in some way, here are some ideas:
1. Send your thoughts and prayers to Olivia's family by posting words of support on a Facebook page that some of my friends set up for this purpose. It can be found by clicking here.
2. Make a Paypal donation that will go directly to Shannon & Brian Engel, Olivia's parents, to help with the burden of funeral costs, as well as a potential memorial for Olivia and all the victims. I can personally vouch for this PayPal account (if that helps at all??) because I know the people who set this account up for the Engels. You can make a donation here.
3. Mail a card, a letter, a prayer, a care package, Christmas presents for Olivia's 3-year-old brother or anything else heartfelt to the Engel family at the following address:
P.O. Box 697
Botsford, CT 06404
If you would like to send a donation this way, please make your check out to The Engel Family.
4. As you may have heard, the children who attend Sandy Hook Elementary will not be returning to that location for quite awhile, if ever. An available elementary school one town over in Monroe, Connecticut is being prepared for these students to return to their classes in January.
To welcome the students back to school, and to help them know they are in a safe, loving and happy environment, there is a campaign to create a Winter Wonderland with thousands of paper snowflakes. This Snowflake Drive is being coordinated by the PTAs for the Newtown Schools. If you would like to contribute your snowflakes, please mail them to the following address by January 12th, 2013 to:
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514
5. An independent family photographer who does not know the victims personally but has been touched very deeply by Olivia's passing has created in her memory The Olivia Act to be passed among other photographers.
Because our memories of our children should be documented through beautiful photographs, this photographer (who wants their name left out of this) will be donating a family photo package to a family who might otherwise not be able to afford such an opportunity. This person is encouraging other photographers to do the same and help Olivia's memory live on!
Please let me know if there are other ways to help that I can add to the list above. Please help these childrens' memories live on.