HIGHLANDS RANCH - It's a place for connection, community and support.
The STEM Center for Strength is a grant-funded resiliency center offering "trauma-informed care," resources, connection and community for those impacted by the shooting on May 7, 2019, at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
Kendrick Castillo, an 18-year-old student, was killed in the attack while lunging at the shooter to protect other students.
The new center opened for virtual services a year ago. It will open the doors to small groups on May 7.
It's located at 640 Plaza Drive in Highlands Ranch, across the street from the STEM school but is not affiliated with the school or the Douglas County School District.
The center is affiliated with community mental health provider AllHealth Network. A $2.9 million grant for the center was announced last September.
"It's a hub for resources through social connection, coming and hanging out with your peers (and for) the staff to come and hang out with their colleagues, (and) families to come together to meet and connect with a therapist," said Jess Monda, the administrator of the center. "Also, just (being) a safe place that is not attached to the school is a really key reason for our center to exist."
There's also a commons area where kids can come and hang out, connect with each other and play games.