NOBLESVILLE, Ind.-- On this day one year ago, no one ever imagined what would happen the next morning. A school shooting would become a reality for central Indiana.
As we reflect, students and families may experience distress. So, how can families cope with the painful memory?
It’s common that an anniversary, especially a school shooting, could reactivate thoughts and feelings. In Noblesville, they’re working to channel those traumatic feelings into something positive. Patrick Propst is no stranger to grief, trauma and disappointment.
“Especially, when it comes unexpectedly in life,” said Propst.
Propst is a pastor. He’s helped his community heal in and out of church, as the Director of Serve Noblesville.
“Whether you’re a preschool student or a graduation senior, or a retired person in the community the reality is, we all want to be seen as someone who is valuable,” said Propst.
Serve Noblesville wants to re-write the story, as Propst says, May 25, 2018 doesn’t define his community.
“The schools and the surrounding community really came together to make a difference and allow that not to be something that defined us,” said Propst.
He wants people to join his Come Together 2019 campaign this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Serve Noblesville is hoping to get people out in the community to promote service and outreach.
“That helps create goodness and value and beauty in our culture,” said Propst.
Laura Hawkins agrees, that’s the right move. As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Counselor, she says this trauma is very common.
“I’ve had students who have been in school where another student brought a gun to school,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins says in trauma healing, there are three overall phases.
“Time combined with positive experiences, for example the children have gone to school for this whole year and that hasn’t happened again, so every time you go to school and are in that situation that provides your brain additional learning that oh, I can be safe,” said Hawkins.
The first phase is to work with physical symptoms, for example being able to calm yourself through anxiety and stress. The second is for the person to create a narrative, to be able to tell the story, including the emotions that they felt during that event. The third phase is moving life forward.
“If the past stays in the past, that’s great,” explained Hawkins, “But if the past is imposing itself on the present, if you’re having flashbacks, if you’re having nightmares, that’s the time to seek help about it.”
Hawkins says her hope for the students and families is that May 25, 2019 will be a day of connecting with neighbors and moving past fear.
“Trauma healing is absolutely possible. It’s achievable.”Serve Noblesville’s Come Together 2019 campaign registration is underway. Although you can give back to your community this weekend, from June 26 through June 29 the organization will accomplish about 70 different projects with 600 to 800 volunteers. If you would like to sign up, click here.
“The Come Together campaign is an opportunity where we are taking the leash off of control and running it and just saying get out there and make a difference,” said Propst.