Eagles' haven
Eagles Haven in Coral Springs.

By Bryan Boggiano

Professionals United for Parkland PU4P and Eagles’ Haven will host a trio of events on Feb 3 and Feb 4 to address trauma and inspire community healing five years after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy.

According to Melissa Michelin, Eagles’ Haven assistant director, PU4P approached Eagles’ Haven to collaborate on the five-year commemoration of the tragedy. She stated both groups worked together to connect community members to therapists and providers.

One of those therapists is Luna Medina-Wolf, PU4P vice president.

Medina-Wolf stated when PU4P started five years ago, a large group of private practice providers wanted to help. The demand for help was overwhelming, but they struggled to reach people who needed their services.

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“There was such a high need that community agencies couldn’t meet those needs initially,” she said.

After reaching out to an MSD alum, the providers raised enough funds and established themselves to become Professionals United for Parkland.

Medina-Wolf said, “Children Services Council funded Eagles Haven and that became the biggest source of support  for the community. PU4P has been supporting Eagles Haven efforts to meet the needs as best we can. This collaboration between community agencies and the private sector has been great.”

According to Medina-Wolf, community healing is essential when a traumatic event happens that affects people on a high magnitude. While each person might have their own traumatic experience, those beyond the direct source of trauma can also be affected.

“I don’t think there is anybody across the state who wasn’t affected [by the MSD tragedy] at any level,” she said.

Five years later, Medina-Wolf says it is important to remember the victims and those who are traumatized, even as people’s attention turns elsewhere. She stated that trauma patients’ journey is not a sprint but a marathon.

“ We want to raise awareness in the community so that they are aware of the support and services available to them in the years following,” she said.

The three events will include personnel from both organizations and Dr. Deb Del Vecchio-Scully, a clinical recovery leader and trauma specialist for the Newtown Recovery and Resiliency Team after the tragedy at Newtown Elementary School.

Friday, Feb 3

It starts at 1 p.m. and continues through 4 p.m. at the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Administration, located at 4150 NW 120th Ave. It will be open to clinicians, counselors, psychologists, and therapists. Registration is $25 and will include lunch and CEUs for continued education.

Saturday, Feb 4

The organizations will host a breakfast for school staff and educators at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, located at 2855 Coral Springs Drive, from 8:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.

Paula Reed, a retired teacher and debate coach from Columbine High School at the time of the 1999 shooting, will speak with educators. She has supported MSD staff multiple times since 2018.

The final event will be open to all community members from 1 p.m. through 4 p.m. at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts and will include lunch from Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza. Attendees will have the opportunity to create their own healing hearts.

Registration

Registration for each of the events is available on PU4P’s website.

Medina-Wolf said most importantly, she and PU4P want those who have trauma to know it is okay not to be okay and it is okay to reach out for help, which is one of the aims of their events.

“You’re not going through this alone,” she said. “Your feelings are valid.”

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Author Profile

Bryan Boggiano
Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.

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