All For Oxford aims to help people heal a year after deadly shooting

Posted at 5:18 AM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 06:30:29-05

(WXYZ) — In anticipation of a challenging day on Wednesday in Oxford, one local organization is hoping to give comfort to people one year after the deadly Oxford High School shooting.

The victims' advocacy center, All For Oxford, is expanding its hours, allowing for people to call and drop in for emotional support all day.

Susan Mingay is usually the first voice you hear if you call, and the first face you see when entering All For Oxford.

From behind her desk, she gives people a soft small, but often, staring back at her are expressions of defeat.

"It’s sad and hopeless and you know, there is just a general depression if you will. People are still feeling very broken and very raw," Mingay said.

November's crisp air brings back memories many have tried to forget, causing a surge in calls and visits to the center.

“November first is really when we started to see people talk about it more and preparing," Program Director Jamie Ayers said.

The staff is also preparing. They're anticipating the need for emotional support.

Ayers said the center is expanding its hours and will have additional clinicians and social workers on standby.

"This is their safe space," she said.

Ayers' vision to comfort the community on the anniversary sparked a movement – Light Up Oxford With Love.

Wednesday at 7 p.m., people will be placing lumineers around Oxford and the surrounding communities in remembrance and solidarity of the victims.

"We just really wanted to create an opportunity for people to hug," she said.

Mingay said after a few visits, she notices a slight change in demeanor when people walk through the door, a glimpse of hope that keeps her optimistic.

"It’s a long journey. There is no fixing just walking together in healing," Mingay said.