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Moving Through Trauma: 25 Years After Columbine, Embracing Community Healing

Dear Community,

As we move into the spring, I am struck by the rapid transformation around us. It seems that overnight, our hills are turning green, trees are budding, and the cool mornings warm quickly with the sun. The shift of seasons highlights the incredible resiliency nature has, that is mirrored in us as well. This year, as we mark 25 years after the Columbine High School tragedy, I am reflecting on the impact it has left on us as individuals and our local community.

April 20, 2024, marked the 25th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School. We’re reminded of a pivotal moment in American history that left a profound impact on our local community. Trauma can echo through communities, leaving lasting impacts that extend beyond individual experiences. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a mass shooting, or ongoing systemic injustices, traumatic events fracture the collective sense of safety, trust, and well-being. The ripple effect of trauma extends far beyond the immediate community, impacting individuals in various ways–from increased rates of mental health disorders and substance use to strained relationships and a pervasive sense of fear and uncertainty.

In response to trauma, communities must recognize that the healing process is more akin to a marathon than a sprint. While immediate support is crucial, individuals will react and process at their own pace. Yet, through the darkest impacts of trauma lies the potential for resilience and healing. Communities have a remarkable capacity to come together in times of crisis, offering support, compassion, and solidarity.

Finding support within our communities is essential for healing from trauma. Whether through peer support groups, community events, or grassroots initiatives, connecting with others who share experiences can provide validation and understanding. By sharing stories, listening with empathy, and offering support, we create a culture of compassion that helps individuals and communities heal and thrive.

Trauma-informed care approaches play a crucial role in supporting affected communities. By prioritizing safety, trust, and empowerment, these services help individuals feel seen, heard, and valued as they navigate their healing journey. Implementing trauma-informed practices across sectors creates environments that promote healing and resilience.

In times of crisis, our team at Jefferson Center provides immediate support, education, and ongoing resources. Partnering with Colorado Crisis Services, we offer 24/7 crisis support through our walk-in centers, phone and text lines, mobile teams, and resources for mental health and substance use issues. Together with community partners, we advocate for accessibility and equitable health outcomes, recognizing the unique needs of each individual.

Ultimately, healing from trauma is a collective effort. It requires courage and vulnerability of individuals, support of communities, and institutions working together to create spaces of safety, resources, and belonging. By offering guidance and support, we empower people to navigate their journey and emerge stronger. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit that, despite the challenges we face, we can find strength and healing in community and connection.

With compassion and resilience,
Dr. Kiara Kuenzler
CEO, Jefferson Center

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, reach out today.
Call: 1-844-493-8255
Text: TALK to 38255
Walk-in: 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

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