SANTA FE, Texas – The City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Independent School District and the Gulf Coast Center have teamed up to establish a Santa Fe Resiliency Center focused on long-term healing.
The Center's open house took place Saturday at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. The center hopes to connect people with the resources they need.
"I think it's very needed. I think it's fantastic, and we're glad to be a part of it," said Heather Melton, an employee of the Gulf Coast Center.
Melton is one of the dozens of people who dedicated their time Saturday to welcome people who were checking out the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center for the very first time.
"It's wonderful, especially considering everything that's happened and we decided to come out today and see what was going on and bring the family," Debbie Schuelke, a Santa Fe parent.
"Our goal is the heal Santa Fe from the tragedy on May the 18th," said Carol Gaylord, the center's director. "The Resiliency center is a result of the family service center which opened the Friday after the shooting."
The organizations partnered with local groups including The Compassionate Friends, Innovative Alternatives and Lutheran Church Charities' Comfort Dogs among many other organizations that aim to help those in need of support after the tragedy.
"This is definitely something our community needs. We plan to be here for as long as it takes--we're thinking three to five years," Gaylord said.
The center is open seven days a week. It is a referral hub with services including spiritual care, advocacy, legal aid, recreational therapy and counseling.
"We are offering eight free sessions to anyone in the Santa Fe area who was affected by the high school shooting and longer-term free counseling for the teachers and students who were there," said Jamee Wilson with Innovative Alternatives, a counseling service.
The center hopes to eventually have its own therapist and art therapist.
"I think art activities are especially powerful and help with children going through post-traumatic stress," said attendee Renee Somers.
"It think it's really wonderful. It gives the community a chance to do something positive," said attendee Anita Laffey with the American Red Cross.
It is a positive effort with the support shown throughout the area. A community-organized Fundraiser for Santa Fe Police was held Saturday at the Galveston Fairgrounds. LULAC and the Thin Blue Line LEMC organized the BBQ fundraiser and family day with Santa Fe Police.
"We're trying to buy ballistic shields, helmets and entry tools, things to help work better and safer while they're out there on the street," said Santa Fe Police Chief Jeff Powell. "They are items that are not normally in our budget."
The mayor said it is all support for a city that exemplifies #SantaFeStrong.
"I think it's amazing," said Santa Fe Mayor Jason Tabor. "We're still healing as a community, and I think it's great to see the community come out to support our police officers along with our Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center. So for the long term of Santa Fe, it means a lot to us."
For more information on the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center: https://ci.santa-fe.tx.us/sfsrc.htm