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Children, RCN Staff Remember Caitlin

Published: November 10, 2017 at 12:00 am

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Resiliency Center of Newtown founder and Director Stephanie Cinque, left, holds a plaque in memory of volunteer Caitlin Nelson. With her is Caitlin's mother, Roseann Nelson, and sister, Anne Vetri.--Bee Photo, Bobowick
Resiliency Center of Newtown founder and Director Stephanie Cinque, left, holds a plaque in memory of volunteer Caitlin Nelson. With her is Caitlin's mother, Roseann Nelson, and sister, Anne Vetri.--Bee Photo, Bobowick
The Resiliency Center of Newtown staff welcomed Caitlin Nelson's fellow Sacred Heart sorority sisters, students, family, and friends for a Celebration of Kindness on October 27. The afternoon concluded as guests released balloons.--Bee Photo, Bobowick
The Resiliency Center of Newtown staff welcomed Caitlin Nelson's fellow Sacred Heart sorority sisters, students, family, and friends for a Celebration of Kindness on October 27. The afternoon concluded as guests released balloons.--Bee Photo, Bobowick

"Don't be sad it's over, smile because it happened," is a phrase among encouraging words hand painted on stones decorated by Caitlin Nelson's family and friends during a Celebration of Kindness and day of remembrance on October 27 at the Resiliency Center of Newtown. Caitlin had been a volunteer at the center, which offers "trauma informed services focused on long-term individual and community healing for children and adults impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012," as stated at resiliencycenterofnewtown.org. Joining her mother, Roseann Nelson, and sister, Anne Vetri, were Caitlin's Sacred Heart Kappa Delta sorority sisters joining Resiliency Center staff, where the young woman had been a volunteer. Caitlin, 20, died following a pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart, in March.


Written on Ms Vetri's stone: "Tis better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
Children at the center also decorated stones, which they soon placed into loose soil where flower seeds will wait for spring's warmth to bloom. Children from the Sandy Hook/Newtown community were invited to participate.


Outside in the late October sun, Alexis McIney and Adeline Garcia planted seeds in small window boxes, where the painted stones will rest this winter.
Two young RCN participants, Teagan Waaler and Amanda Faircloth, decorated their stones with flowers and phrases, adding their own thoughts to the celebration.
RCN founder and Director Stephanie Cinque glanced at the children, students, and staff all gathered for Caitlin.


"She loved butterflies," Ms Cinque said, but later that afternoon, rather than releasing butterflies, which was not possible in late October, participants released bubbles and a cluster of vibrant balloons in "happy fall colors."
Ms Cinque said she "just chose a day" to hold Caitlin's celebration, pleased to welcome Ms Nelson and Ms Vestri.


Ms Nelson donated a plaque in memory of her daughter, which will remain with the RCN. Written on the plaque: "Her kindness created an everlasting ripple effect throughout the community."
Once finished planting seeds and painting stones, guests gathered outside the front door where they either silently placed their rocks in the planters, or paused to share a few words. Amid tears, both Caitlin's mother and sister spoke, Ms Vetri talking about "turning tragedy into something positive."
Eager hands soon grabbed for the cluster of balloons as more than a dozen were then released, sailing higher against the pale blue sky. Laughing, Elisa LeMack and Amy Ricotta blew bubbles that shimmered against the sky.


Then guests stood silently as bubbles and balloons drifted away.

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This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
50% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
50% (1 vote)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
0% (0 votes)
Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 2