UVALDE, Texas — A year after sharing his account of surviving a terrifying mass shooting at Robb Elementary where many of his friends died, Jaydien Canizales is doing better.
He's not fully recovered – that path is a long one for having endured such horror at just 10 years old – but better. Still a little sad, a little angry, a little hurt.
"I wanted to get all the feelings outside," Jaydien said about why he bravely shared his story with KENS 5 so soon after the shooting in May of 2022.
On the week when his Uvalde friends, family and neighbors were set to commemorate one year since the tragedy and remember the lives that were lost, Jaydien invited us to go to church with his family. There, we heard a powerful message: Love always wins.
But sometimes the victory can be hard-won.
"He has a lot of anger, a lot of survivor's guilt," said Jaydien's mother, Azeneth Rodriguez. "I know there are times where he does try to be strong, and tries not to show it. But I know, deep down he is hurting."
The journey to heal after Robb seems like an impossible one. Rodriguez says they're constantly reminded of what happened on that dark day.
"You are OK one day, and then you are not OK," she said. "Receiving emails from the school, that brings me back memories. Just emails."
Not yet a teenager, Jaydien has turned his own hurt into activism. Last August, just three months after the shooting, he spoke at a Uvalde CISD school board meeting to push for gun safety reform.
"I want everything to change," he told KENS 5 this week. "No more shootings."
Asked about his reaction to the recent shooting at an Allen, Texas outlet mall, Jaydien's response was simple: "I was mad."
He and his family's fight for change and journey of healing are far from over. He still has nightmares, but is getting help from therapy. He tried public school, but is now in private education.
After the church service, he showed us the well-deserved awards he recently received at school. One was for kindness. The other, for courage.
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