Eagles' Haven Wellness Center In Coral Springs Aims To Give Students, Teachers A Place To 'Relax'
The Eagles' Haven Wellness Center is just over a mile away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Coral Springs. The center was scheduled to open at the end of April but decided to start offering services this week after two survivors of last year's shooting died by apparent suicide.
Since then, more than 100 people have come through the center's doors, seeking connection to therapies or just a place to have a cup of coffee and talk to someone.
Representatives from Eagles' Haven were at the Coral Springs City Hall Wednesday evening for a town hall on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. You can find the full video, here.
Eagles' Haven was created for former, current and future students at Stoneman Douglas, and their families and teachers. However, the center says it will not turn away anyone seeking help.
"We're going to focus on wellness, family strengthening and education. And if somebody's not sure where to go to get support for their child or if they're just not feeling well...they can call here, they can just walk in and we're going to direct them to the appropriate resources," said the center's Program Director Julie Gordon.
"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.'"
The center is run by the Jewish Adoption And Family Care Options, or JAFCO. The space was designed to be a place for people to come hang out, take yoga or cooking classes and get connected to therapy - but only if they want it.
Annabel Claprood, a high schooler and former student at MSD, said that's why she likes the idea of having activities, and not pushing therapy on students.
"I don't want to sit in a room and sit across from you and talk about my feelings, because I don't know my feelings," she said. "And I think with the crafts and with the activities it can slowly bring it out, and not be so direct."
The Children's Services Council of Broward Countyis contributing funding to ensure all services at Eagles' Haven remain free indefinitely.
Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, the council's President and CEO, acknowledged that more day to day gun violence is still happening across Broward County, and that many survivors need support. She said the goal is to eventually create other local centers like Eagles' Haven.
"It's our intention to make sure that there are opportunities for - if not exactly Eagles' Haven - to have similar services available throughout the county," Arenberg Seltzer said.
The Eagles' Haven Wellness center is open seven days a week in the Shops At Heron Lakes strip mall. Activity classes will start in the near future.