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Members and supporters of the Alexander C. Teves Foundation; —Courtesy of Erik Velez and the ACT Foundation

How to Give Back to the Aurora Community

As the Aurora theater trial gets underway, here are a few funds and foundations to aid survivors and carry on the work of those lost in the shootings.

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With the Aurora trial in the forefront of many Coloradans’ minds, it can be easy to recall the feelings of grief and helplessness that followed the tragedy. But in the years since the shooting, people throughout Aurora, the state, and the nation have helped one another heal and created opportunities for others to lend a hand, as well. These groups help us focus on the good that can come out of a tragedy:

Aurora Rise: Created by All C’s Collectibles manager Jason Farnsworth as a means of getting funds directly to survivors, Aurora Rise has been steadily hosting events and collecting donations since early 2013. The organization regularly hosts movie night fundraisers in conjunction with Aurora’s Movie Tavern, as well as auctions unique illustrations by comic artists. You can donate directly to the organization, or sign up to volunteer at events like a showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 4, or Denver Comic Con in late May. Proceeds benefit victims and their families, and will also be used to start two art scholarships in the near future. aurorarise.org

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Aurora Strong Resilience Center: This organization, which hosts an annual memorial of the 7/20 tragedy, works with Aurora Mental Health Center to focus on healing both survivors and the community. The center provides wellness classes, including arts and crafts, drumming circles, and yoga. All services are free (including sessions with a licensed counselor), but volunteers can keep classes afloat. Offer your expertise in therapeutic services (if you have the skills, of course) or consider helping out in other ways, like decorating the center or organizing case files. 303-739-1580; 1298 Peoria St., Aurora; aurorastrong.org

7/20 Memorial Foundation: Composed entirely of those directly affected by the shooting, this committee is in charge of enhancing the forthcoming Reflection Memorial Garden at the Aurora Municipal Center. The city of Aurora will handle construction of the garden, while installation of benches, artwork, and more is reliant on donations. Volunteers may be needed as plans move forward, but in the meantime you can donate online or mail to: Reflections Memorial Garden, C/O 7/20 Memorial Foundation, City of Aurora, 15151 E Alameda Pkwy, Aurora, CO 80012; auroragov.org

Alexander C. Teves Foundation: The ACT Foundation, named for one of the 12 individuals killed in the theater shooting, carries on the work that Teves did as a counseling intern at Humanex Academy, an alternative middle and high school. ACT provides scholarships to the academy through yearly fundraisers like the Run for Aurora 12 (at the Colfax Marathon on May 16 and 17) and “A Night to Remember” beer festival at one of Teve’s favorite spots, Copper Kettle Brewing Co. Not a runner or a beer aficionado? Donations can be made on the organization’s website.

National Compassion Fund: Put cash directly in the hands of survivors with this new group, partnered with the National Center for Victims of Crime. The fund, created by survivors of mass-casualty crimes like Aurora, 9/11, Columbine, and Virginia Tech, collects donations, which are then dispersed (by judgment of an expert panel) without losing money to administrative fees or taxes. Currently, NCF is collecting exclusively for Aurora, but donations will be separated by cause when new funds are added to ensure your donations go directly to the effort you want to support. Text “SURVIVOR” to 84465 to donate $10 to the Aurora fund, or visit the organization’s website to donate online.

Love to Aurora: Sometimes, just a simple message can make a difference, which is what this Facebook community is all about. If you’re unable to donate your time or money, stop by this page to post a photo or message to let Aurora citizens know you’re standing with them.

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(Read entries from Aurora survivor Marcus Weaver’s trial journals)

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