The tragedy that took place Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left many bewildered and saddened, including 15-year-old Noah Sims of Chippewa.
Compelled by an urge to help the devastated community, Noah established a fundraiser and has generated over $1,000 in donations to date.
"I just thought about those innocent kids," he said. "Of all this grieving in the world, I'm trying to get something positive out of it and trying to turn it around."
Noah's philanthropy began during the Christmas season when he and his mother, Christine, made and donated ornaments to St. Philomena in Beaver Falls for the parish's Christmas tree.
Shortly after, the Newtown tragedy struck and Noah said he was left with a sense that he needed to do more and to bring something positive out of it. When his mother came up with the idea to sell T-shirts, Noah said, he jumped on it.
The two collaborated with Sports Factory Screen Printing and Embroidery in New Brighton to design the T-shirts, which are green with the Sandy Hook logo on the front and the names of the victims on the back surrounded by angel wings.
Noah, a freshman at Blackhawk High School, pitched the idea to school administrators and quickly received permission to sell the T-shirts in school, where he said they have been well-received by students.
"They like the idea," he said. "A lot of people are becoming interested in it and the teachers love it."
He also received permission to sell them to parishioners at St. Philomena. His father, Greg, has helped the cause as well by taking them to work and peddling them to co-workers.
Noah said he plans to continue to sell the T-shirts. Once all of the donations have been collected, he will travel to Newtown, Conn., where he will present the money to school administrators.
"It's going to be hard, but there's going to be a sense of pride to show that the Pittsburgh area cares," he said.
For information or to purchase a T-shirt, contact Noah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: email@example.com.