Community wellness center opens early in Coral Springs

Eagles Haven opens after suicides of 2 MSD shooting survivors

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – More action is being taken after two students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last year took their own lives.

That includes a new community wellness center in Coral Springs.

Eagles Haven opened a month early and is providing a place for people in the community to come and heal.

"As is typical after tragedies, people tend to isolate a little bit because the pain is too much," JAFCO Executive Director Sarah Franco said. 

After the Feb. 14, 2018, attack at MSD, survivors, their families and others who were affected were bombarded with support -- so much so, it could have easily become overwhelming.

So, with that in mind, plans were put in place to create a community wellness center that would provide a central location for information about those services and also serve as a safe place for healing.

"Everybody heals in their own way at their own time, and that's why we're also seeing a lot of people, including the teenagers, saying, 'I've been numb for a year but now I think I need to work on this,'" Eagles Haven program director Julie Gordon said. 

The center was scheduled to open in April. But after the two suicides of MSD survivors, that schedule got quickly changed.

"It was spring break so we knew that schools would not be open and we needed to make sure that the community resources were available," Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, president and CEO of the Children's Services Council, said. 

Open since Monday, Eagle's Haven is staffed with licensed clinicians who are trained to deal with trauma, and knowing what it looks like.

But they want to stress, they do not do therapy there. 

They can and will recommend therapy to people who are seeking it, but that isn't their main goal, which is a major key for survivors like Annabel Claprood.

"If I walk into a place and you tell me to go to therapy I'm just going to turn around and walk right back out," she said. "I don't want you to tell me what I need to do. I want to feel comfortable and confident that I can come here and feel safe."

The city of Coral Springs is hosting a town hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall to provide people with information and resources about mental health. 


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