In three shaken US cities, Lady Gaga tries to channel 'fury into hope'

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NEW YORK - In El Paso, Texas, there are books for third-grade students, many of whom have none at home. Disabled students in Dayton, Ohio, will get bouncy chairs to help calm them for learning. Science kits will go to fifth graders in Gilroy, California.

Those are just three of a series of local classroom initiatives that Grammy-winning singer Lady Gaga has pledged to fund as students in those shaken communities, the latest U.S. cities to endure mass shootings, go back to school this week.

Her aim is to bring a measure of hope to places devastated by an extraordinary week of mass shootings in a country numbed by a steady beat of news about gun violence.

"I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope," Gaga said on Facebook, where she announced the donation from her Born This Way Foundation in partnership with nonprofit DonorsChoose.

Gaga pledged to "fully fund" 162 school projects, including requests made by teachers from 125 classrooms in El Paso, 14 classrooms in Dayton and 23 classrooms in Gilroy.

The value of the total donation was not disclosed. DonorsChoose did not respond to a Reuters question on the matter.

Back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton a week ago left 31 dead. Three more were killed when a gunman opened fire at a food festival in Gilroy the previous weekend.

The dead included three young people of school age. A 6-year-old boy, Stephen Romero, was playing near a bounce house at the Gilroy Garlic Festival when he was killed. A 13-year-old girl, Keyla Salazar, also died. In El Paso, Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, was killed.

Beyond the 34 people who died and at least 65 who were wounded, the shootings likely had a psychological impact on young people of the three cities that endured the attacks.

Gaga urged her Facebook followers to seek any mental health help they might need to recover. She said classroom donations would give teachers "the support they need to inspire their students to work together and bring their dreams to life." -Reuters


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