Like many parents, Lake Zurich resident Lora Rampino struggled to explain the violence at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School to her own kids.
Afterward, Rampino's children -- 10-year-old Anthony and 7-year-old Isabella, both students at Spencer Loomis Elementary -- said they wanted to do something for the survivors of the massacre.
So Rampino searched for an appropriate project. And it has since blossomed into a much larger affair.
Working with other parents and children, Rampino and friend Angie Schroedel will make paper snowflakes that will decorate the school Sandy Hook students will attend when classes in Newtown, Conn., resume after winter break.
"It's a little magic during this madness," Rampino said.
Two suburban snowflake-making events have been scheduled. The first is Wednesday, Dec. 26, at Concord Banquets in Kildeer. The second is Thursday, Jan. 3, at Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake.
The Lake Zurich event will run from 1 to 4 p.m., while the Crystal Lake gathering is 1 to 3 p.m.
Twenty children and six adults were murdered by a gunman Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary. The survivors will attend classes in a neighboring community's school after winter break.
The Connecticut Parent Teacher Student Association launched the decorative project. It's since attracted international attention.
"It's right up my alley," said Rampino, who considers herself crafty and runs a home stamping business.
Rampino recruited Schroedel to help. Schroedel persuaded Concorde Banquets and the YMCA to donate rooms for the efforts.
Rampino hopes they'll make at least 1,000 snowflakes at the first event.
"I want these snowflakes to be made with lots of happiness and love, and we'll put that right in the box with them," she said.
Rampino already has some white and blue printer paper, but she could use more white paper and glitter glue if people want to bring supplies.
Participants should bring their own scissors.
Anyone can attend the parties. Participation is free.
The Connecticut PTSA has been inundated with shipments of snowflakes since the program was announced, a staffer said. They've come from all over the country, and additional shipments are expected from Ireland, Germany and other nations.
An American military unit stationed in Kuwait reportedly is planning to send snowflakes, too. A trailer truck filled with paper snowflakes is en route, too, the staffer said.
Schroedel, also of Lake Zurich, said she hopes the snowflakes help alleviate the anxiety the students and their parents will feel when school resumes.
"There's millions of people thinking about them," she said. "It could be any one of us. It could be anywhere."
More information about the project can be found at the Connecticut PTSA's website, ctpta.org.
Facebook event pages have been created for the gatherings in this area.