UPMC trauma therapist offering free services to kids in need following fatal Beaver County shootings

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — Blue lights, tears and caution tape filled the streets of two communities in Beaver County this week.

“I had a cousin murdered just last year, Isiah Alston in the Aliquippa area, so I’m really impacted by it. With that there was a lot of frustration, a lot of frustration with my cousin’s murder and a lot of negative energy,” said Alonzo Alston, a UPMC trauma therapist.

Alston knows all too well what it’s like to be the family on the side of loss and grief.

Following the deaths of two teens in 24 hours, he felt a pull back to his hometown.

“I know the families really well, I saw people on the news, I saw people talking about the amount of trauma the kids were suffering through, the amount of trauma the families were going through, and I said wait a minute I do trauma every day. I do trauma therapy every day with teenagers,” Alston said.

So, he is offering his skills for free to any kids who need help.

“Mental health is just as important as your physical health. I always tell kids hey if you break your arm and say hey, I’m good or break your leg and say no I’ll just work through this. No, you’ll go to the hospital and get help,” Alston said.

He wants to help. He’s already had kids and parents reach out to him. Now he’s working out the logistics to set up a space to have one on one sessions and even group conversations as these communities try to heal.

“I urge other therapists to get out. Come out to Aliquippa, help Aliquippa kids out, psychologists, therapists, if you can help come out and volunteer some time. If you can’t come out here, I urge you to go out in your own communities,” Alston said.

He’s hopeful it doesn’t stop with him. Right now, he’s encouraging anyone who needs help to reach out to him on Facebook and plans to have more details on sessions in the near future.

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