‘Choose Love’ curriculum comes to NH prisons

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Jesse Lewis talks with women incarcerated in NH about the Choose Love Movement. Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire Department of Corrections (NHDOC) has implemented the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement in NHDOC facilities as a way of aiding those incarcerated better understand the impact of adverse childhood experiences and ways to change their thinking in a positive way.

On Thursday, February 20, Scarlett Lewis, the mother of Jesse Lewis, her six-year-old son who was killed in the Sandy Hook mass shooting, spoke to 24 women at the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women (NHCFW) and described how social-emotional learning can be the path towards enhancing our emotional intelligence and proactively preventing violence.

Lewis stated that 30-50 percent of people have dealt with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Through the Choose Love program, we have to ability to change negative thinking patterns into positive ones. “It’s a cycle,” Lewis stated.

“Thoughts impact our feelings which impact our behavior.” She challenged the group to change one angry thought each day with a positive one. Next week, several NHDOC staff members will participate in a training at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester that will instruct NHDOC counselors, teachers, security staff and clinical staff on how to implement and facilitate the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement in the prisons.

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is in all 50 states and 90 countries worldwide. On Wednesday, Governor Sununu proclaimed February as Social and Emotional Learning Awareness Month during the Governor & Council meeting at the State House.