MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville Educational Foundation (“MEF”) sponsored Rev. Sharon Risher at Lazar Middle School's Living Lessons Program on May 18.

Rev. Risher’s beloved mother along with eight others were shot in an African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Rev. Risher shared her struggles with accepting the senseless shooting and the process of forgiveness that she is going through. Rev. Risher stated, "I felt the spirit of nine people telling me it was going to be fine. They gave me the strength to speak out against hate crimes. Love our differences; love always wins."

Daria Senaldi, MEF President, was grateful Rev. Risher agreed to share her tragedy with Lazar's 8th graders. “Sharon Risher's recount of June 17 touched every student with her message of loving everyone's uniqueness," Senaldi said.

The Living Lessons Program is one of the largest gatherings of survivors and motivational speakers who are willing to share their stories with students. The tradition of bringing individuals with powerful messages together, under one roof for one day, to teach students about courage, compassion and character, originated in 2005 at The Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville, New Jersey. Since then, Lazar has sponsored eight Living Lessons programs and the MEF is committed to sustaining this worthwhile program.