CASE STUDY | Messages of Hope for Sandy Hook Grabs National Attention


A tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, left 20 children and six adult staff members dead and the nation in a state of grief. The CT Parents Union received numerous calls from friends, family and supporters in the hours immediately following asking how they could help show support for the victims and others experiencing loss.

On that day, the CT Parents Union originally planned on kicking off the annual ” ‘Tis the Season to be Reading Day” events, which received a proclamation dated Dec. 14, 2012 from Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Gwen Samuel Reno

Instead, Gwen Samuel of the CT Parents Union sprung into action contacting stakeholders, supporters and sponsors to organize the CT Parents Union Sandy Hook Coping & Caring Parent Express Bus. The visits would allow the many affected to share in their collective grief and offer condolences to victims of the shooting.



Working with her media consultant, Erica Holloway of Galvanized Strategies, Samuel put together a flyer of information for sponsors to underwrite the bus costs.

The Parent Express would make 10 stops throughout the state offering the following: collection of personal condolence cards, connections to grief and bereavement resources, children’s books giveaways, characters with book readings and healing activities on coping with life and loss, plus a heroes tribute to educators and first responders.

Generous spoReno TVnsors included the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Comcast, Graustein Memorial Fund, Big Hearted Families, Jeff’s Place Children’s Bereavement Center, The Cove Center for Grieving Children, Friends Way, Manitou Experience, NYC Parents Union, Dropout Nation, Cedar Valley Publishing, National Family Engagement Alliance, Scholastic, Candlewick Press, Simon and Schuster, CPTV/PBS Kids, Kimochis(Toys with Feelings), State of Black CT Alliance, Hartford Knights Youth Organization, Hartford Parents University and Carriage Limousine, and Sheraton Norwalk.

Once details were set, Galvanized Strategies distributed a media advisory on December 20, alerting national media that the bus visits would begin the following day, December 21, in Danbury and conclude on December 24, Christmas Eve, in Newtown.


The outpouring of public support and media coverage was overwhelming. Tens of thousands of messages of hope brought comfort to those hurting in the wake of the tragedy.

Media coverage for the Sandy Hook Coping & Caring Parent Express Bus totaled 122 identified news stories nationwide, including TV, radio, print, wire, online news and blogs. In terms of publicity value, it prompted more than $40,000 in earned media for the CT Parents Union and its sponsors, plus a priceless value of comfort in a time of great need.

BROADCAST COVERAGE: Audience 121,723, Clip Value $517*



*Critical Mention gathers the estimated audience data as provided by Nielsen and SQAD. The value is affected by the length of the segment and air time.

** CisionPoints Publicity Value is a calculation that estimates the price that professional media buyers would pay for that amount of exposure for that particular outlet – not the ad rate. It provides a numeric value that allows you to compare the value of one article to another article.

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