after the December 14 shootings at Sandy
Hook Elementary School, yoga teacher Linda Antignani read a news story
about the police officers who were first on the nightmarish scene. Many were
struggling to cope with the trauma, but the town’s insurer wouldn’t cover
post-traumatic stress-related illnesses, and several officers were nearing the
end of their paid sick leaves, still unable to return to work. Because a number
of yoga students at Antignani’s studio, Mother’s Embrace Yoga in
Shelton, CT, are police officers or married to officers, the story hit her
especially hard. “I was feeling very helpless,” she admitted.
reached out to the Newtown Police Department and asked how she could assist the
Sandy Hook responders who were facing financial difficulties. After determining
that grocery store cards were the best way to help the officers purchase
necessities and put food on the table, Antignani launched the Adopt A
Sandy Hook/Newtown Cop program.
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yoga students told their friends and families about the Adopt-A-Cop
program, and a post on Facebook caught the attention of a reporter. The Connecticut
Post ran a story that was picked up by Yahoo
News. “Once Yahoo News did an article, I started hearing from all over the
country, even from people in Mexico,” Antignani says.
since been contacted by yoga teachers from around the U.S. who have volunteered
to use their classes to raise funds for the project. Several who specialize in
yoga for post-traumatic stress disorder have asked Antignani if they could
offer classes or healing sessions for the officers most affected by the
yoga has helped military veterans cope with PTSD.)
weeks ago, many of us in the yoga community felt as helpless as Linda Antignani
did when 20 children and 6 staff members were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Today she says, “I feel as if I am giving direct help to those who were on the
front line.” Antignani’s efforts are a
reminder that each of us has the power to be a force for good. If you wish to
make a donation to Adopt-A-Sandy Hook/Newtown Cop, you can use the Pay Pal
link on the fund’s web page. Cash donations will be converted to grocery
store cards. To leave a message of support or gratitude to those who were first
on the scene that awful day, visit the
program’s Facebook page.