Sandy Hook 10 years later: Animal sanctuary honors 6-year-old victim

It’s been 10 years since the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six lives were lost, and for family members of the victims -- the pain has not faded as they still hope for a brighter future.

"There's so much good that can come from tragedy," Jenny Hubbard said at the animal sanctuary she created in honor of her daughter, Catherine. "It's a sacred space, perhaps on a path to healing."

Photo credit: Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

Photo credit: Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary honors the 6-year-old Sandy Hook victim known for her bright red hair and love of animals. The 34 acres in the heart of Newtown is a mix of wetlands, woodlands and open space.

RELATED: Sandy Hook 10 years later: Legacies and activism sparked by tragedy

"My hope is that the sanctuary is one of these places where anybody with whatever struggle they're dealing with, can just come and take a deep breath," Hubbard said. "That premise started a lot of programming that supports the human animal bond. We teach humans how to care for animals, we provide support to make sure animals live in their rightful habitat."

Image 1 of 5

Photo credit: Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary

The educational programs and animal rescue events have reached nearly 150,000 people over the years. For Hubbard, especially this year, it's an example of the goodness that can shine through.

RELATED: Remington offers Sandy Hook families $33 million to settle lawsuit

"Ten years, you know, I find myself in this moment and thinking about the 10 years that has been," Hubbard said. "It's been a blink, and it's also been a lifetime. But I find myself just incredibly grateful for what has become of something so horrific."

RELATED: Alex Jones ordered to pay $965 million for Sandy Hook hoax claims

On the other side of the small town, there's also a new memorial close to where the school once stood. It's a man-made pool with a Sycamore tree rising from the center. The names of the 20 children and six educators killed in the shooting are all etched in stone. It's a place to reflect and remember.

Sandy Hook memorial in Newtown, Connecticut

Hockley’s youngest son, Dylan, was one of those first-graders. 

Dylan. Sandy Hook victim

In the years since she co-founded Sandy Hook Promise, the nonprofit organization has trained 18 million American kids in anti-violence programs. It also supported changes to Connecticut state gun laws, including universal background checks and expanding the state's assault weapons ban.

Photo credit: Sandy Hook Promise

Photo credit: Sandy Hook Promise

Hubbard says the sanctuary will mark the 10 years by breaking new ground with plans for a library and even a veterinary center for rescue animals.