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Nonprofit that helps with healing from trauma hopes to restart following recent mass shootings

The Colorado Resilient-Life Center started in 2018, but has been inactive for the last few years. They hope to bring in volunteers to offer a list of classes.

AURORA, Colo. — For those that experience trauma, healing can be a never-ending process. 

Megan Dearman and Jena Long know this feeling firsthand, like many others. 

“We see now more than ever that we have an opportunity to gather the community and share gifts with one another that we have – that can help us all through these hard times," Dearman said. 

Standing together in the 7/20 Memorial just outside of the Aurora Municipal Center, the two recall their journey of healing. 

Long is a survivor of the Aurora Theater shooting that happened in 2012. 

Dearman's 6-year-old cousin, Veronica Moser Sullivan, lost her life in that same tragedy. 

“It really is helpful to know that you’re not alone, that you have people to talk to and that you have a common interest with them to be able to work through their trauma," Long shared. 

“More than anything, just a place where people within our community who feel like they need any type of help mentally can walk in and feel safe and not be judged,” Dearman added. 

In 2018, Dearman, along with a friend, Della Curry, founded the nonprofit, the Colorado Resilient-Life Center (CORLC).

Credit: Taylor Schuss
A sign at the 7/20 Memorial in Aurora honoring Veronica Moser Sullivan, who lost her life in the Aurora Theater shooting.

Long is a volunteer with the organization, and also works with the nonprofit Pull Your Heart Out. 

Through this center, they were hoping to host more than just group therapy sessions, but working to offer all sorts of classes; cooking, dancing, painting and more.

Before the programs could really get off the ground, the pandemic happened, putting the world on pause. 

For the last few years, they've remained inactive. 

But the recent deadly mass shootings happening across the country have reinvigorated Dearman's desire to get the nonprofit established permanently in its own space. 

“We see now more than ever that we have an opportunity to gather the community and share gifts with one another that we have – that can help us all through these hard times," Dearman said. 

The classes they hope to provide would come from volunteers, which they're actively looking for now. 

“We want to it to be a plethora of healing modalities in one place that someone can walk in and say you know, I’m not sure I’m ready for traditional talk therapy, or I’m not into therapy at all – I like to dance. Do you have a dance class I can go to? And we want to say yes we do, it’s free. And that dance class will be run by someone in our community that has a passion for helping others," Dearman said. 

Credit: Taylor Schuss
Megan Dearman and Jena Long sit together at the 7/20 Memorial in Aurora.

Mountain View United Church in Aurora opened their doors to the organization to hold classes, Dearman explained. 

However, they hope to use that as a starting point, and are planning to host food drives or community meetings to better understand what the community would like to see. 

"I actually learned through being vulnerable and opening up to other people in the community that my hurt can be help to others," said Dearman. 

If you would like to help CORL, click here. 

If you would like to inquire about volunteering or a space, you can contact the organization here.

RELATED: Long after headlines become history, trauma lingers for survivors of mass shootings

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