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Luau to continue Franklin Regional's healing process

| Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A group of Franklin Regional parents wants the summer to start on a healing note.

FR Families Strong, a group of local parents who participate in the All Pro Dads and iMoms groups, will host a community luau Friday. The event is intended to help families come together to celebrate summer and heal and to strengthen families after the April 9 stabbings at the high school, organizer father Matthew Olszewski said.

“Together is a pretty powerful word in responding,” Olszewski said. “This was built on stronger families — the fathers, the mothers and us all coming together.”

The new group's motto — “Together we can, together we will” — underscores that idea, Olszewski said. The All Pro Dads group has focused on the idea of empowering family unity at home for the past four years.

After April 9, Olszewski said he and some other dads realized that there were no easy answers for those affected.

“When the stabbing incident happened, everyone felt completely vulnerable,” Olszewski said. “Everyone wanted to reach out to the community around them — the victims, the suspect, everyone affected. There was a real sense of community pride.”

The luau is another piece in the process of helping the community heal, Olszewski said. Proceeds from the night, which will include the raffle of a donated Samsung television, will go to a fund that benefits the victims.

The event will include food, music, a Hawaiian band, and hula and fire dancing — a lot of fun to help families come together, Olszewski said.

Parents and students also are organizing a banner signing at the luau to help the community reach out to Reynolds High School in Oregon, where a school shooting killed one teen and injured a teacher earlier this month.

Organizer Beth McCormick said many members of the Franklin Regional community wanted to “pay it forward” in appreciation of the support that poured out from across the country in the weeks after the April 9 incident.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2365, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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