Israel Coalition. (Jewish Federation Of Broward)

By Jill Fox

With a mission to strengthen individuals and communities to cope better with crisis, it’s no wonder why residents are anxious for the Israel Trauma Coalition to return to Parkland.

Members of the ITC first visited Parkland three weeks after the school shooting to train teachers, counselors, clinicians, and first responders among others on how to help residents begin to overcome the tragedy.

Created in 2002, the ITC is committed to helping individuals and communities cope successfully with traumatic experiences, both natural and man-made.

Allison O’Mara, North Broward Director of Jewish Federation said, “The Jewish Federation wanted to bring them back to talk to parents and teachers about ways to move through trauma one year later, when things are different then they were right after the shooting.”

In town for various events, including giving a key note speech on creating a trauma resilient community at Broward Behavioral Health Coalition’s Behavioral Health Conference on Wednesday, ITC Director Talia Levanon will host at least two community forums for adults impacted by the tragedy at The Cypress Head Clubhouse.

“We added a session on Wednesday for teachers who expressed an interest in meeting with the ITC to focus on their own specific needs,” said O’Mara.

Topics include coping with trauma and identifying symptoms, building resilience for children and teens, tools for self-care and normal reactions along the time continuum.

O’Mara explained that unfortunately, Israel has become the leading expert in trauma, and their community has a very unique approach of dealing with it as a part of their everyday life. They have specific ways they move forward and avoid triggers, so they’re going to share those with us.

O’Mara expects Levanon and her team to give an overview of “one year later,” what people can expect to see from those affected, signs to look for and ways to identify whether or not someone is okay, followed by many questions and answers.

O’Mara said they were extremely helpful last time they came, and we they had a lot of response to bring them back so they waited until things settled down, and people could gauge where the community is after the one year anniversary.

Light refreshments will be served at the forums taking place on Wednesday, May 15, at 3:15 p.m. for teachers, and Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. for families.

The Cypress Head Clubhouse is located at 7501 South Cypresshead Drive in Parkland.

For more information or to RSVP, email Allison O’Mara at aomara@jewishbroward.org.