Aurora Strong Community Resilience Center opens to help ease trauma
POSTED: 07/12/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT
UPDATED: 07/12/2013 12:09:57 AM MDT
By Adrian D. Garcia
The Denver Post
AURORA — Just days before the first anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting, the community celebrated the grand opening of a new center intended to symbolize the perseverance of the city and offer therapy to its struggling members.
Survivors, family members of the victims and others who were touched by the tragedy gathered Thursday for the opening of The Aurora Strong Community Resilience Center.
"This community will spend the next 10 days revisiting what happened to us a year ago, but we will also start this clearly public and ongoing process of healing," said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, one of several officials in attendance. "This opening we're doing is an important part of that."
The center was developed to help all people in Aurora cope with struggles they face, especially those dealing with traumatic stress, center manager Grace Zolnosky said.
Located at 1298 Peoria St. in the lower level of the former Hoffman Heights Library, the center will serve as a community gathering place for local groups and organizations. It will also provide residents no-cost therapy in both one-on-one and group settings, Zolnosky said. "Much of resilience comes from community — from the relationships that allow us to lean on each other for the support that we need," Zolnosky said. "The Aurora Resilience Center came from an amazing caring community coming together."
The 7/20 Recovery Committee hopes to make the center a permanent staple of the community. The group promotes community healing and has so far raised enough money to operate the center for 18 months. Some are looking to the new center as proof that Aurora is still the "All American City."
"Just because one bad event happened here doesn't mean it's the worst place in the world," said Corbin Dates, who was in Theater 9 with his friend Jennifer Seeger, the morning of July 20, 2012, when a gunman opened fire, killing 12 and wounding at least 58 others.
Dates plans to use the center's services, which include music on Fridays, art classes on Thursdays and yoga on Saturdays.
"Seeing the center makes my heart happy. It shows that we aren't alone and that you don't have to go through (problems) by yourself unless you choose to," Dates said as he held his smiling 8-month-old nephew Jay.
After Megan Sullivan's older brother Alex died in the shooting, family, friends and community members were there to help her move forward. "The opening of the resilience center will definitely help supply individuals in my community with skills and tools that I've learned in the last year," she said. "I hope the Aurora Strong Resilience Center will remind people to put one foot in front of the other and remind people of what my brother used to say, 'There's always tomorrow.' "
Aurora strong community resilience center hours
Noon-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Webmaster note: If you do not live in the Denver Area,you can visit mytraumarecovery.com for help; the website is endorsed by Aurora Strong.
(Helen H. Richardson,
The Denver Post)
© 2013 by The National Resiliency Center, All rights reserved.