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04/20/12 – Columbine: Wounded Minds Project Continues Healing

by Christie McElhinney

Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, The Colorado Trust
Christie McElhinney, Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs, The Colorado Trust
Thirteen years ago today I climbed onto a shuttle boat at a resort on the big island of Hawaii where I was enjoying vacation with my extended family. It was a perfect island day – sparkling blue ocean, sunny skies, mild tropical breeze. Everyone on the boat was smiling, relaxed and friendly. Someone started a “where are you from” conversation and everyone joined in. But when I said “Colorado,” the conversation came to an abrupt stop. The guy who had started the conversation said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” A couple more people quickly offered their condolences. My husband and I looked at each other in confusion, and then back to the group and asked what they were sorry about. This is how we learned of the tragedy of Columbine.

Thirteen years later, the pain of this tragedy remains clear and present. I send my son, who now attends high school in Jefferson County, off to school each day with a prayer my parents couldn’t have imagined. Really, I still can’t really imagine it. Nor can I comprehend how school shootings continue – that Columbine wasn’t the end of such horrors.

Samuel Granillo is pouring his heart and soul into a documentary aimed at continuing the healing. I met Sam in February when we were filming the Project Health Colorado TV spots, where he was working as a member of the film crew. A survivor of the April 20, 1999 Columbine High School shootings, Sam is producing Columbine: Wounded Minds, a film focused on giving a voice to his classmates who went through the event directly. His hope is that the Columbine: Wounded Minds project helps to find a way to provide ongoing counseling and other assistance to those individuals who were directly affected and continue to experience posttraumatic stress disorders. I encourage you to check out the website and learn more about Sam’s ambitious and poignant project.

We are fortunate to have people like Sam, and organizations like Safe2Tell, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at CU Boulder and others that are both knowledgeable about youth violence and devoted to ending it. We need these efforts, as well as other information, resources and supports if we are going to make Colorado a state that authentically places the health, well-being and safety of our children as a top and enduring priority.

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