She added, “We have made our counseling staff available to students and staff who have needed assistance in dealing with this tragedy. We will continue to make counseling staff available to those who may need assistance.”
Local trauma expert Dr. Jayan Landry, co-founder and CEO of Trauma Intervention Program of the Merrimack Valley Inc., or TIP, which is based on Main Street in Andover, said parents need to talk to their kids honestly about the tragedy.
Many young people, including Ritzer’s students, her former classmates and friends of her two younger siblings are expected to attend Sunday’s visiting hours.
“Children are traumatized,” Landry said. “Parents play a vital role in their child’s successful recovery from a traumatic event like this one.”
Landry offered suggestions to help parents talk with their kids about the news. They included the need to reassure young people that they will be taken care of, loved and cherished just as they were before the traumatic event.
“Make it clear to your child that you are ‘in control,’” she said. “It is very frightening and confusing for a child to sense that parents themselves are disorganized, confused and anxious. If your own response to the event interferes with your ability to care, seek additional assistance.”
While Andover police are anticipating an overwhelming turnout for tomorrow’s calling hours and Monday’s funeral, police will be on hand to direct traffic and crowds. No street closures are expected, and police say there is ample parking around St. Augustine’s as well as at the nearby municipal lot at Memorial Hall Library.
“We know there will be a lot of people obviously going to this particular funeral,” Lt. Edward Guy said.
Donations to the Colleen Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is being managed by Essex County Community Foundation, may be made online at https://secure.etransfer.com/EssexCCF/ColleenRitzerMemorialFund.cfm. Checks payable to ECCF/Colleen Ritzer Fund may be mailed to Essex County Community Foundation, 175 Andover St., Danvers, MA 01923.