PARKLAND, FL — While Marjory Stoneman Douglas was the setting for the tragedy of last week, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the person, was a civic-minded journalist who devoted her life to preservation and civil rights. 

The events of the past week have left our Parkland community devastated but determined to bring forth hope and optimism for the future.  We have been left asking ourselves what we each can do to make a positive difference.  With many of the news outlets beginning to pack up and head out of town, there is an intense need for Parkland's story of renewal to be told in the days, weeks, months and years to come, and for a safe outlet for all of our residents to be able to share their thoughts and feelings during this difficult time. I think here's where I can do something to help. 

My family and I moved from New Jersey to our new home in Parkland this summer.  I moved primarily to take care of my aging parents who live here but we were attracted by the warm and diverse community, the excellent schools, and Parkland's beauty.  In New Jersey, I started an all-online objective local newspaper in New Providence, N.J., almost 10 years ago and as people from neighboring towns reached out to me and asked me to launch an online newspaper for their town, we began to grow. Four years ago, we began franchising. Currently, I am the founder and CEO of TAPinto, a network of more than 70 online local newspapers in New Jersey and New York with more than 7 million readers during the last year.  

Sign Up for E-News

During the past week, I have seen countless acts of kindness and generosity on the part of my fellow Parklanders. I have seen our elected leaders as well as our school administrators act with great compassion and leadership. I have read about the heroes inside MSD who risked, and in some cases lost, their lives, helping others, and about the first responders who did not hesitate to put their lives on the line to save Parkland's children. And of course, I have read about the victims and their beautiful lives that were lost well before their time.

Now, as our community comes together and so many Parklanders and Parkland organizations are doing good, their stories of hope and optimism should be told. Our residents need to be able to share their opinions and feelings openly in a safe environment. Our nonprofits need to have a place to be able to share their good work.  Our elected leaders need to have a vehicle to communicate with you. Our community needs to have a robust community calendar so we know all of the great things happening in our community and can participate in them. TAPinto Parkland is now here to try to help.

It is our hope that as our community continues to recover, that TAPinto Parkland can help in the process of bringing our community together and help show the world that Parkland is a special place and Parklanders are a special people. 

The tragedy of last week is not an end, it's the beginning of a long journey of renewal and positive change. 

Thank you for allowing us to be part of that journey.