The Avielle Foundation
The vision of the Avielle Foundation is to prevent violence and build empathy by fostering brain health research and community engagement and education. This will be accomplished by funding brain health research and fostering community engagement, education, and responsibility. The Foundation is directing resources to support:
1. Breakthrough research, bridging behavioral and biochemical sciences;
2. Community-based education initiatives and programs which strengthen connectivity, empathy, and, most importantly, understanding.
Avielle Rose Richman was one of twenty-six children and educators tragically killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14th, 2012. Avielle’s parents, Jennifer and Jeremy, are infinitely heart broken, and like so many of you, want to bring about changes to stop a tragedy such as this from happening to any community — ever again.
The Avielle Foundation has been created to honor their loving daughter — along with all the others who have fallen victim to senseless violence — by truly understanding what leads someone to engage in such harmful behavior. We’re working closely with world leaders in two vital areas: brain health research and community building.
Objective #1: Understand the Underpinnings in the Brain That Lead to Malevolent Behaviors
Too little is known in the field of brain health in regard to what drives violent behaviors. Clearly something is wrong with a person capable of such atrocities as mass murder, and there must be a better understanding of the biological and environmental factors associated with these pathologies. Once a deeper understanding has been established, we can apply these insights to educate healthcare providers and communities about identifying and responsibly advocating for those at risk of violent behaviors. We can develop and put into practice innovative policies to facilitate counseling, education, and pharmacological interventions.
Objective #2: Foster Community to Ensure That Everyone is a Valuable Community Member
Jennifer and Jeremy instilled this open-minded, open-hearted philosophy in Avielle because they know a strong community is one where every member belongs and is a valuable contributor —regardless of ethnicity, beliefs, political views, lifestyle, or social ideologies. In such communities, individuals don’t feel ostracized, stigmatized, bullied, or alienated, and the propensity to act in desperate, destructive, or violent ways is diminished or eliminated. Citizenship in a community goes beyond fitting in — it comes with responsibility.
In all the Avielle Foundation does, it’s our belief that we must understand the biological and environmental factors that impact the brain, leading to malevolent behaviors, in order to prevent them. We must build communities where all individuals are included, given a contributing role, and kept safe. Most importantly we must educate ourselves and others with our brain health findings in order to dispel fears of seeking help and to facilitate rational and effective treatment interventions. We must take action to ensure what happened to Avielle does not happen again and, ultimately, this will be done by making the invisible visible.
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