Remembering Newtown in Palmdale


Wednesday, December 26 -- The reverberations of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy have spread to every part of the United States. Including to JVS and – more specifically – to our Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program in Palmdale where unit assistant Marisela Corona created a tribute that she would see every day through the holidays. The Palmdale GAIN staff decorated their office cubicles for the holidays. The centerpiece of Corona’s winter wonderland scene is a gingerbread house with blue and white candy and cupcake decorations containing the names of all 26 victims of the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The children’s names are on the wrapped up pieces of candy that border the gingerbread house. The adult victim’s names are located on paper cupcakes which adorn an adjacent Christmas tree.

Corona does not know anybody at Sandy Hook or in Newtown. The decoration theme was a “parent to parent” inspiration.

“I’m going to school so I can ultimately work with children,” says Corona who joined JVS in 2011 “And I have a daughter of my own. I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate and let them know that they’re in our hearts and our thoughts.”

Corona is studying psychology and hopes to eventually be a counselor. Her 7-year-old daughter Angelina helped design and construct the display.

“She understood what happened,” Corona said of Angelina. “We’ve had the news on consistently and she’s been asking lots of questions about who did what.”

In the office’s cubicle-decorating contest, Corona’s display took home a gift certificate and a hot chocolate set.

“I was impressed,” said Suzanne Harms, the GAIN Program Operations Manager. “She did an amazing job. That’s what Christmas is all about.”