In the immediate aftermath of a gunman’s massacre of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde on May 24, Southside ISD dispatched a team of counselors to help out. The Southside group, comprised of counselors and social workers, met at the Uvalde Civic Center offering confidential grief counseling. The mental health professionals say the pain seemingly impacted just about everyone in Uvalde. “We met with children, families, staff, parents that actually lost a child. I was able to speak to them, and their pain, their grief is real. You can feel the emotion and the loss, the anger, the guilt. All we can do is be there in the moment and support them because it’s going to be a long road ahead of them,” said Losoya Middle School social worker Jessica Maldonado. “It was an intense event. Mentally, we went very prepared to be intentional and be a listening ear for the families and provide the comfort we could at that moment,” said Southside High School counselor Iveth Pacheco. Both the Uvalde and Southside ISD communities are similar in size, demographics, and are close-knit. “For me, just seeing the kids that look like our kids was difficult because it just made us connect to the tragedy even more. Those kids look just like our kids,” said Matthey Middle School social worker Byanka Ramos. The team of Southside ISD mental health professionals is planning on returning to Uvalde to assist in an ongoing effort.