February 13th, 2021

How Fred Guttenberg’s book “Find the Helpers” teaches ways to overcome loss

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Fred Guttenberg on PBS NewsHour EXTRA Educator Zoom


Today is the third anniversary of the Parkland mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. Fourteen students and three staff members were killed.

In mid-January, NewsHour EXTRA held its Educator Zoom series with Fred Guttenberg, gun safety activist, founder of Orange Ribbons for Jamie and author of a new book “Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope.” The book focuses on those people in his Guttenberg’s life who helped him get through the tragedy and continue to do so.

Jamie Guttenberg

Jamie, Guttenberg’s daughter, was killed in the shooting. She was just 14 years old. Sunday marks the the third year anniversary of the shooting. Guttenberg’s son Jesse survived the attack that day. Fred Guttenberg also spoke with educators about his brother who died of cancer in 2017, after being exposed to toxins as a first responder at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The PBS conversation was hosted by Sari Beth Rosenberg, NYC public school teacher, and attended by dozens of educators, school staff, parents and students.

Attendees asked Guttenberg questions ranging from who the helpers have been in his life, what it was like to speak with now President Joe Biden, the importance of journaling and social media in his life and the hardening of schools, including active shooter drills.

Guttenberg’s activism revolves around addressing the underlying problem of gun violence, guns, and works to enact sensible gun safety legislation. 

For the FULL Zoom conversation with Guttenberg and educators/staff, click here. The Zoom runs 1h:10 minutes. We think the time will be well worth spent!

If you are a school faculty or staff member and would like to sign up for NewsHour EXTRA’s Educator Zooms, click here.


Highlight clips:

“My daughter was the toughest person I’ll ever know in my life.” — Fred Guttenberg


“You as the educators will teach about people who come out of this moment, heroes, leaders, that we don’t think of today, but you’ll be teaching about years from now.” — Fred Guttenberg on the role of educators/school staff


“Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers,” Fred recalls the famous quote the name of his book by Mister Fred Rogers who offered variations of it over the years. The quote went viral after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, and once again after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.


Fred Guttenberg said he will remind legislators on every trip he makes to Washington D.C. how they feared for their lives during the Capitol Riots, and how that’s exactly how his 14-year old daughter Jamie felt before she was killed.

If you would like to contribute to Educator Voice, NewsHour EXTRA’s blog on how current events affect life for educators including school personnel, please send your idea to Vic Pasquantonio at

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