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You don’t choose tragedy.
You can choose your response.

The “I Love U Guys” Foundation was started in 2006 by Ellen and John-Michael Keyes following a school shooting that took the life of their daughter, Emily. On that day Emily sent two text messages... One to her mother, Ellen, "I love u guys. K" and to her father, John-Michael, "I love you guys."

Our mission is to restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities.

Today, the Foundation is led and supported by survivors, family members, first responders and community members with a vested interest in safety, preparedness and reunification in schools.

A Little History

A Little History

Helping Kids. Helping Schools. Helping Community.

At the inception of The "I Love U Guys" Foundation, the focus was on the arena of school safety. The question was simple, "Can we really help?" We attended symposiums, conferences and events about school safety and did tons of exploration. The Foundation hosted roundtables of its own, and also contracted an Emergency Management Practitioner to jumpstart the learning curve and make introductions. (Perhaps the best research investment we have ever made.)

In January of 2009, John-Michael Keyes negotiated an exit from his company and began seriously looking at the landscape of school safety. His motivation was pretty simple: Does the Foundation initiate programs of its own, or does it simply raise a little money for other initiatives and programs?

What happened next was remarkable. With so many individuals, organizations, districts, departments and agencies looking at student safety, there still seemed to be a missing piece - a lack of clear, distinct, common language between first responders, students and staff.

The Perfect Storm

Ellen and John-Michael Ellen and John-Michael Keyes devoted their skills in design and packaging, and critical thought. Their twenty-five year professional careers proved essential building blocks for the Foundation. And their passion is a beacon.

Because of circumstance, they are also invited into conversations not typically open to private citizens. But it didn't stop there; the "I Love U Guys" Foundation also began to solidify a strong, diverse Board of Directors and the volunteer base checked-in with its knowledge pool and skill-sets.

A Common Vocabulary

Lightning in a bottle

As we researched and convened with hundreds of students, administrators, public safety experts, families, and first responders it became painfully clear: there is a significant communication barrier between schools and first responders when it comes to emergency operations.

We set about to remove this barrier through the development of a common vocabulary and set of actions for emergencies. The result is a series of programs whose development is ever-evolving through the collaboration of first responders, school districts, psychologists, families, and students. Whose tactics are data-driven, researched and based on experience and leading practices. And whose implementation exceeds 50,000 schools, agencies and organizations around the world.

The programs are free (Seriously! No strings) and include a great deal of instruction so you can start implementing immediately. If your team would like more support, we do offer training and certification as well. And twice a year we produce The Briefings, a nationally recognized school and community safety event.

Now We're Dancing in the Rain

Carly In March of 2018, Carly Posey joined the Foundation as Mission Director. Her family was directly impacted by the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 and she has woven her story into the fabric of the Foundation. She brought experience in both the private and non-profit sectors and her own passion for our work.

You see, the Foundation acts as a conduit. Through research and collaboration with experts in education, law enforcement, emergency management and psychologists the Foundation assembled real world solutions that could be brought to the classroom, in partnership with first responders.

The end result has been a "Perfect Storm" for advancing student and school safety. The ability to create, package, promote and institute programs and initiatives advancing student safety exists within the organization; including all of the supporting material necessary to advance them. With the ultimate in stewardship, we produce professional, relevant and comprehensive materials at a fraction of the typical cost. Simply amazing.


For some it may be difficult to accept. The right actions at the right time by the right people may not have the right outcome.

When what we hoped for didn't happen, some may want to find fault. But there is no fault to be found in the command decisions made given the information and behavior presented. There is no fault to be found in the courage and speed of their response.

From our family, there is only respect.


The best people did the best of things. The outcome could have been far more grave. We as a family know this and appreciate this.

Real life doesn't always have a happy ending.

Excerpted from the Keyes Family Statement regarding the March 27th, 2007 release of the CBI Report on the Platte Canyon Hostage Crisis.

Our Focus

Our Focus

The Joy of Youth

The joy of youth is a gift given to each of us at birth. It is a gift that is both precious and fragile, and can be experienced and shared not just in childhood, but throughout one's lifetime. To know the joy of youth is to know laughter and exuberance, to be free of worry, to feel cared for, and safe. The joy of youth is at all times exposed to the elements of life. Inevitably, and sometimes very quickly, these elements erode or even destroy our sense of security and wellbeing, our positive outlook, our desire to give and to share.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

While there is nothing that can be done to absolutely protect the joy of youth from all of the elements which may undermine or destroy it, there is much that can be done to restore and protect it - for both children and adults.

In support of our Mission to restore and protect the joy of youth, The "I Love U Guys" Foundation has established three Points of Focus that guide what we do and how we do it:


Every vital organization has a soul, an ethos. Our soul is kindness. It is the example we set, and the energy we put into the universe. Kindness is one thing each of us is capable of, and perhaps the only thing over which we have absolute control. While we may not fully know the power of its presence, we do so painfully know the power of its absence. Anger, despair, and alienation are born of the absence of kindness. These same feelings underlie the desperation that leads to violent acts against others. What difference might a simple kindness make?


Community is the body in which our soul of kindness lives. It is where we gather in celebration and in sorrow, where we practice giving and experience reliance. Community is a rich confluence of different lifestyles, ideas, and resources. It magnifies and multiplies us, giving us the capacity to do those things that need to be done but which we cannot do alone.


Responsibility is our conscience. At its center is the awareness that our perceptions, words, and actions impact others. Each of us has the power to give, to support, and to create. As well, we have the power to hurt, to detract, and destroy. We are responsible for how we use our power. Responsibility is the energy that converts intentions to actions; nothing gets done if someone does not do it. Each of us has responsibility to do what we can for our own security and well-being - and that of others.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Vivian Greene Author

How We Do It


When The "I Love U Guys" Foundation first formed in 2006, the commitment was in part to help other organizations in support of the mission. We also funded a modest scholarship program for Platte Canyon High School graduates. During that time, school safety became an ongoing interest.

Program Development

In 2009 the Foundation collaborated with schools and first responders to create the Standard Response Protocol and began an outreach program to show schools and first responders how it works. The results have been simply astonishing - millions of students; hundreds of thousands of educators, administrators and school staff; and tens of thousands of first responders. All using the same language, same training, same expectations of behavior during a crisis.

In 2010 the Foundation launched an awareness campaign talking to teens about the tough topic sexting. Behind the scenes, we spoke with District Attorneys and Prosecutors about sane intervention, without lifelong sex offender status.

In 2012 research indicated that there was another gap in the spectrum of school safety. Few schools had a plan to reunify students with parents after a crisis while maintaining accountability and accommodating mental health demands. Again, collaboration and research resulted in the Standard Reunification Method.

With a combination of in-house talent, a dedicated board of directors, tireless volunteers, and strong collaboration, the Foundation developed these programs at a fraction of traditional costs.

We knew we made the right choice to take a more grass-roots approach, talking with individual schools or districts about our programs, letting their success speak for itself.


It's not enough to have strong programs. Districts, departments and agencies have to know about them. Have to be motivated to implement them. And have the training to do it.

And motivation is the key. Anyone who has worked in institutional environments knows that it isn't enough to say something should be done. Motivated people need to do it. And they need the tools to succeed.

Top Down Or Bottom Up?

When the Foundation developed the SRP to address the lack of common language between students, teachers and first responders it was debated how best to introduce it. Of course we would not mind if some government entity comes along, adopts and mandates the program, but without first proving its effectiveness we knew it would be an uphill climb to take this approach.

We also knew that several Colorado schools were already working on or had pieces of critical incident response in their safety plans, so we talked with them directly. When Jefferson County School District became the first to adopt the SRP in 2009 we knew we made the right choice to take a more grass-roots approach, talking with individual schools or districts about our programs, letting their success speak for itself.

How It Works

No Cost Programs

If you are a school, district, department, agency, or organization then all downloadable materials on this site are available at no charge.

In refreshing materials and guidance (early 2015), we looked at every aspect of the SRP. The "I Love U Guys" Foundation made a profound decision. While Foundation programs were offered free of charge to public schools, districts, departments and agencies, other organizations were asked for a modest donation to the Foundation. Across the US and Canada, Law Enforcement began expanding the recommendation of the SRP to other organizations.

While we welcome every donation, the suggested donation was occasionally a roadblock for implementation in the private sector. In 2015, the Foundation board approved providing the materials, at no cost, to any organization.

Saying it again, any school, district, department, agency or organization can use the materials free of charge. All we ask is that the Foundation is notified.

Any school, district, department, agency or organization can use the materials free of charge. All we ask is that the Foundation is notified.

Please Let Us Know

Our ability to provide materials to districts, departments and agencies at no cost relies, in part, on charitable funding from the private sector. It is important to us that we know who is using our programs, how effective they have been, and any feedback - good or bad. So, please let us know if you are using our programs.

Meet the Board of Directors

As a 501(c)3, The Foundation's visionary leadership and strategic guidance rests on our volunteer Board of Directors.


James Englert
Board President

School Resource Officer
Arapahoe High School


Heilit Biehl
Board Vice President

Director of Judicial Services
Jeffco Public Schools


Chris Zimmerman
Board Treasurer

Cimmaron Middle School


Louis Gonzalez
Board Secretary

Small Business Owner


David Bauer
Board Member

Small Business Owner


Frank DeAngelis
Board Member

Columbine High School (Retired)


Julius Shanks
Board Member

Boardman, Carr, Petelos, Watkins, Ogle & Howard, P.C.


Jason Thompson
Board Member

Director – HR Operations
Jeffco Public Schools

Meet the Staff

With "Skin in the Game," and fierce passion for the work, our full time staff is razor focused on our mission.


Pat Hamilton
Executive Director

With a passion for empowering teams, Pat became full time in 2024.


Ellen Stoddard-Keyes
Operations Director

One of the Co-Founders of the Foundation in 2006, Ellen became full-time in 2017.


Carly Posey
Mission Director

With experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, Carly joined the Foundation in March of 2018.


Tessa Alford
Director of Strategic Initiatives

With a BS in Mechanical Engineering & Pre-Med with Biomedical Engineering Minor, Tessa joined us in May of 2023.


Allyson Jones
Communications Manager

With deep industry experience and knowlege, Allyson joined us in January of 2022.


Angie Marquez
Accounting and Contracts Coordinator

With a degree in Integrated studies as well as Health/wellness public safety, Angie joined the Foundation in April of 2023.


Amyla Boles
Development Coordinator

A Sandy Hook survivor and advocate for community wellness, Amyla joined us in May of 2023.


Garrett Collier
Full Stack Developer

With a BA in Computer Science with Mathematics Minor, Garrett joined us in October of 2023.


John-Michael Keyes
Special Projects

One of the Co-Founders of the Foundation in 2006, John-Michael became full-time in 2009.


Jacqui Maes
Executive Assistant

With a BA in Journalism and Media Communications with Sociology Minor, Jacqui joined us in January of 2024.


Andy Arnold

Department of the Army Civilian Police, Andy joined us in October of 2022.


Donna Dougherty

With over 30 years of experience in public education serving as a teacher, administrator, and Director of School Safety, Donna joined the Foundation in May of 2023.


Betsy Miller

With 33 years as a teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal at both the elementary and middle school levels, Betsy joined us in September of 2023.


Jim French

Nearly 25 years as a High School Principal and past president of Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, Jim joined us in September of 2023.

Meet the Independent Contributors

We've never gone it alone. We work nearly daily with Independent Contributors to keep the organization moving.


Stacy Avila
Instructor Coordinator

Arvada Police Department / Jeffco Regional SWAT Negotiator (Retired).
Greycat Consulting, LLC


Kevin Burd
Instructor Coordinator

Hunterdon County SWAT Commander (Retired),
Priority of Life, LLC


Dr. David Benke
Mentor, Advisor, Compass

Math Teacher (Retired)


Kevin McGuinness
Graphic Design

Art direction, graphic design and wrangler of print and digital assets.


Natalie Tucker
Videographer, Documentarian

Autumn Leaves Production.


Ambika Leigh
Senior Producer, Livestream & Video Production

Practitioner/Instructors and

Our Practitioner/Instructors are seasoned stakeholders in the field. Whether it's Public Safety, Education, or Emergency Management, they bring real world experience to our unique training experience.

Our Instructor/Explorers have proven credentials in the arena and are well versed in the unique instructional models the Foundation employs.

Andy Arnold The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
Stacy Avila Graycat Training LLC
Staci Batterson SMB Enterprise LLC
Phil Blaylock
David A. Benke Domino Pushers LLC
Andrew Carl Boone ACB Consulting LLC
Kevin Burd Priority of Life Training and Consulting
Michael Carlson Black Tulip Enterprises, LLC
Donna Dougherty The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
James Englert Englert Consulting LLC
Sam Fawcett
Tanner Fitch
Jim French The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
Tanir Gilreath
Brian Gross
Pat Hamilton Hamilton Education Consulting, LLC
Craig Hansen
Jillian Haring Jillian Haring LLC
Jason Kelley Maximum Effort Training, LLC
Jeseray Lear Jeseray Lear Counsulting LLC
Joe McKenna School Safety Solutions
Betsy Miller The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
Michael Peck HIP Instructional Design
Chris Zimmerman K12 Leadership Consultant


Our goal is to reply to every request, but the volume of correspondence is sometimes overwhelming.
Please embrace patience, and don't hesitate in trying again if we've exceeded your comfort zone.

Mailing Address

The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
PO Box 489
Placitas, NM 87043

Answering Service



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Visitors and their downloads

The “I Love U Guys” Foundation website is used by thousands of people a week to advance their readiness and response.

This map shows visitors who have downloaded our materials since last Sunday. Now, there are some caveats. We're basing location on the visitor's IP address so sometimes the location is way off. Celluar data connections might originate in Placitas, NM but may resolve to an IP address in Dallas, TX. More browsers are obfuscating IP addresses. Our crack software development team make assurances that is the best they can do.

This product includes GeoLite2 data created by MaxMind, available from

Mission Partners
Curriculum Adopters
Curriculum Development
Software Integrations
Training Underwriters
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Hugs. I Love u guys.


To restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities.


Standard Response Protocol

Action-based, flexible, and easy to learn.

Standard Reunification Method

Recovery starts when the crisis begins.

Reunification Exercise

Ready to go "Exercise in a Box."

Training and Events

From breakout sessions to full day workshops.

Tender Loving Care

Other projects we're handling with a little TLC.

Partner with Love

Together we’re a powerful conduit that unites.