A safety net to save our students | Letters

It is hard to know how to respond to the increasing violence facing our nation. The loss of 17 students and teachers is heartbreaking and have left many feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.

I’d like to think that this could never happen on Orcas and I sure hope I am right.

Hoping alone is not enough, however. We know there are children and adults dealing with loss, anger, addiction, mental illness, poverty and more in this community.

Orcas is fortunate to have a web of prevention programs like the Primary Intervention Program, Second Step, and counselors at the school, as well as programs at the Funhouse, the senior center, the resource center and through Safe San Juans. In addition, Allison Sanders and Trillium Swanson are currently working on bringing the Communities who Care model (communitiesthatcare.net)to further increase the network on Orcas. The goal is to build awareness among the entire community to support our children and help them develop into healthy adults.

By working together we can knit a safety net that will (hopefully) catch those who need it most before they fall into the abyss. It is challenging to measure the impact of all of these efforts, but we know that not dealing with mental health issues, addiction, anger and poverty combined with ready access to weapons results in tragedy.

Hilary Canty

Orcas Island Community Foundation