Stoneman Douglas student overcomes tragedy by helping others

Zachary Beer volunteers at charity that employs special-needs adults

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – For students affected by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy last school year, this has been a year of heartache and healing. One young man is getting help by helping others.

In February, the lives of students and staff members at MSD changed forever.   

The mass shooting that happened there cast a national spotlight on all who attend or work at the school and are now trying to heal.   

"The day after the shooting, I came here. Bonnie, the owner of Scentsability, was the first one to text me," MSD sophomore Zachary Beer said.      

Zachary finds refuge from the chaos of it all by volunteering at Scentsability -- a charity that employs special-needs adults. The charity makes and sells candles, helping special-needs adults learn to lead independent lives one candle at a time.

For Zachary, it was the light he needed to overcome the darkness of what had happened.

"It became like therapy for me being here," Zachary said. "Everyone that works here with special needs -- they have a lot more to offer when it comes down to advice and helping people out. They aspire to do that."

"Zachary is a nice fellow," employee Khari Moench said. "He likes to joke with me. He is a good guy, too."

Scentsability now employees 15 special-needs adults and has been in their Coral Springs location for five years. 

The company started 10 years ago in Bonnie Schmidt's living room.

Now an integral part of the team, Zachary said he has found purpose away from the spotlight that's been focused on what happened at his school. He said he now wants to help these young adults who have helped him so much. 

"There is always stuff going on. There is tension for everything," Zachary said. "Everyone is so laid back, but we get things done."

"We always have a lot of fun. We enjoy every last minute," Moench added. 

Zachary said he hopes to have a business one day that employs special-needs adults.

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