In the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas earlier this month, two elementary school teachers are asking for postcards from around the world to send a message of hope to their students.
Teresa Garrett, who has been teaching fourth grade in the El Paso Independent School District for 11 years, says she came across a post in a private Facebook group written by fellow El Paso fourth grade teacher Elvira Flores, requesting postcards for her students. When Garrett read the request, she knew her own students would benefit from the positive vibes as well.
"I was trying to figure out what I could do when I read it," Garrett told TODAY Parents. "It felt right — so I asked to join her post and share on other pages I belong to."
Garrett says after the initial post went viral, she and her colleague got nervous about the attention and deleted it. But, after the school district spoke up in support of the movement, the teachers decided to re-post the request.
"I read every card and letter we receive," Garrett wrote in her second post. "I wish I could express how you all have made me feel, as well as my students."
Garrett says while her students have not spoken about the shooting in her classroom, her entire community has felt the impact of the tragedy.
"I don't think you can put into words the way you feel when this happens, but I know it was unbelievable at first," said Garrett. "Most students know what happened, and we just assure our parents we will keep them as safe as possible."
In the days since their first Facebook post, Garrett said both classrooms have been flooded with gifts, cards and postcards from across the country.
Garrett has also updated her Facebook request to ask that the tragedy not be mentioned in the messages written on the postcards — "We want everything to be uplifting," she wrote.
And, as postcards continue to come in, Garrett has vowed to package some of them up for delivery to other elementary schools in the area.
"My students have been awed with the outpour of love and support we have received," said Garrett. "The response has been phenomenal ... the messages are so heartfelt and make you feel warm and loved."
To mail postcards to students at the two elementary schools, address them to:
c/o Tom Lea Elementary
4851 Marcus Uribe
El Paso, TX 79934
c/o Hillside Elementary
4500 Clifton Avenue
El Paso, TX 79903