While kids had a blast sledding at Treadwell Park on Christmas Eve, one 12-year-old was busy breaking down boxes, handing out panda bears and showing children where to get munchkins and hot chocolate.
Joshua Bent looks like your typical seventh grader from Newtown Middle School. He even came to the park on Monday morning wearing snow pants and boots, ready to sled. But instead of joining the other kids when they took to the hill, Joshua stayed near the adults, helping do whatever was needed. Sporting a smile, he broke down empty cardboard boxes and handed out panda bears to kids.
"I love doing this stuff," he said. "I love seeing the kids sledding and seeing their smiles. I love seeing them so happy."
Joshua was at Treadwell Park for a Snow Angel event, which actually had been postponed since the organizers could not make enough snow in time.
Despite the last-minute postponement, many families still came and had a fun time. That was exactly the intent organizers had in mind, to try and replace sadness with smiles, even for a few minutes, in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook School, which is just up the street from the park.
With that in mind, Joshua was happy to help out.
"I love volunteering my time," he said. "I'm just so grateful that I'm OK."