STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – When the fire claimed the lives of his three girls in Stamford on Christmas of 2011, Matthew Badger says his heart broke into a thousand pieces.

The fire killed 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah Badger, 9-year-old Lily Badger, and their grandparents Lomer and Pauline Johnson.

He felt a continuous grief. He felt there was no meaning to his life anymore. He fought that by concentrating on how best to pay tribute to his girls.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

“I didn’t feel like it could be as simple and as small as a playground. I wanted it to be something that really touched and helped other children,” he said.

He took a lesson learned from them – that they’re success in the schoolroom came largely by learning the curriculum through the arts.

He said his youngest daughter Grace, who was dyslexic, to see what happened because her teacher used the arts to teach.

“Academia can be taught through the language of arts, and it engages the children and excites them and lets them take ownership of their education,” Badger told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

He now raises money for schoolroom supplies through the Lily Sarah Grace Fund, named for his girls.

In only a few months, 62,000 children in 48 states have benefited.

He said that many of them who were struggling are now successfully learning.

“We’re asking teachers to write up a proposal for us… on how they would use our art and creativity to teach their academic program for that semester,” he said.

Not only does he say that children learn, but this successful means of teaching through the arts is reducing the number of problem children in the classroom.

If you want to donate to the fund, click here.

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