To put into word, the last few days seems impossible. We saw 17 students and staff lost their lives and the whole world is grieving. But for us, the events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas this past week hit too close to home.
Many have lost family and friends. A day that is supposed to be about love, will never be remembered the same. While we all try to make sense of the unimaginable, many of us want to help but do not know what to do.
Douglas Strong: How to help
First, pray for these families. Pray for the students, the teachers, and the faculty at both Marjory Stoneman Douglas and West Glade Middle.
Second, if you know someone who lost someone they love or where at school that day, reach out to them. Let them know they are not alone. Consider making it a commitment to text them and encourage them throughout the next year. This is not a time we should isolate ourselves. We need to be together and to love one another.
Healing from something like this is going to take time and a community coming together to support one another. We have seen so much support from our community. Let’s keep it up.
“Our hearts remain with the victims and families impacted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy. Across our community, the difficult and emotional recovery process continues, as we struggle to understand this senseless act of violence and find a way to move forward.” – Broward County School Boar
Talk to Someone
We encourage every student and parent to reach out and talk to someone. Every school has a certified school counselor who can assist with any social/emotional issues your child might be experiencing. School social workers, school psychologists and family counselors are also available for support. In addition, the District, in partnership with the American Red Cross and federal, state, local and community agencies will open a Family Assistance Center (FAC) to address immediate needs and provide support for those impacted by this tragedy.
The FAC, located at the Parkland Recreational and Enrichment Center, 10559 Trails End, Parkland FL, 33076, will open at 10 a.m. and offer expanded services, including:
· Victim Services and Compensation
· Replacement Drivers Licenses and Identification Documents
· Health Care Assistance
· Travel Assistance
Interpreters and translation services will be available. The hours of operation for the FAC are:.
· Wednesday, February 21, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
· Thursday, February 22, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
· Friday, February 23, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
For those needing to speak with a counselor over the phone, the BCPS hotline with family counselors is available 24/7, starting Friday, February 16 through Monday, February 19. The number to call is 754-321-HELP or 754-321-4357. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text FL to 741741 to be connected with a counselor. You can also email. Additional support is available at http://browardschools.com/crisissupport .
A memorial has also been set up at Pine Trails park for those wanting to pay their respects to the staff and students who lives were cut short that day. This is open all day for the public.
If you would like to do more (such as provide a meal for the grief center, provide a service, etc), please consider signing up on the volunteer database here: https://goo.gl/forms/4xRraYRnYgek5LtI2 .
If you want to give, please only do that through the official Go Fund Me page https://www.gofundme.com/stonemandouglasvictimsfund .
Parkland and the families and students of Stoneman Douglas, our hearts and prayers are with you. We love our local community. We will be here to walk through this together. #ParklandProud #DouglasStrong #PrayforParkland #msdstrong
Ways You Can Help Now
- Island Water Sports is offering free rental boards and SUPs (as available) for MSD students. Share this with a student you know.
- Push for Good (a national network of skateboarders, musicians, artists and creatives) is hoping to find someone willing to donate and open space (a warehouse or store front) near the school for the next 6-12 months. This will serve as a community location for art sessions, spoken word, etc. and a place for students to go to express themselves. They have found a location and will be fundraising and looking for people to be involved. Email email@example.com for more info.
- If you wish to make a banner for students at MSD, please drop them a Taravella high school care of Lori Sessions. Any paper banner must be laminated.
- Contribute to our Backpack Drive. Currently we have just over 1,000 backpacks that will be filled with items to get MSD out with friends instead of isolating themselves during this period of grief. You can drop a backpack at the locations on the flyer below or purchase one at http://a.co/aIq5Xoq – Each backpack will include: Astarbucks gift card, a Free Day at DJ Scratch Academy, Free Admission to WordCamp 2018 Highschool blog sessions, a coupon for an extra hour of surf or paddle board rental certificates from Island Water Sports, a free lazer tag sessions at Wow!Factory, a Vet for a Day Experience from Boca Veterinary Clinic and mentoring for anyone wanting to be a Vet, 5 Free Sessions at the Salt Box in Parkland, a PDQ gift cards, a free Chick-fil-a meal, a free Acupuncture Sessions, a journal and more. Each bag will also have resources from the Broward County School Board and Red Cross websites for counseling to help them through the remainder of the school year (copies courtesy of Office Depot). If you local business would like to donate 3k certificates for a meal or activity to include, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share the backpack drive event with your friends on social media. Click on the Facebook Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/1966082777044551
We will continue to update this blog with ways you can help. Check back and share with your friends.