Volunteers distribute gifts at Christmas party to help at-risk youth – CBS Denver


DENVER (CBS4) Following the recent violence in Denver and Aurora, one group is determined to spread the joy of Christmas to families downtown.

(credit: CBS)

“This is entering my 40th year of working with our kids in this neighborhood who are drawn to some negative elements,” said Reverend Leon Kelly. He is the executive director of Alternatives to Open House Youth Gangs. “It’s our hood, and the makeup is all of us.”

On Saturday morning, volunteers handed out hundreds of age-appropriate toys, provided by Toys for Tots and Lloyd Lewan and the Lewan Family Foundation. At an annual Christmas party, various community organizations team up to curb gang activity, with the overall goal of stopping recruiting. Kelly says this is accomplished by reaching out to at-risk youth when they are young, offering them alternatives to gang life through mentoring.

(credit: CBS)

“We’ve got freebies, we’ve got vendors, agency groups, what a community is supposed to be like,” Kelly said. “It’s about people coming together.”

“It’s a chance for us – our church is meeting in the suburb of Highlands Ranch – to be involved in the downtown area,” added Pastor David Jensen of God’s Community Church.

By making the gift, Kelly hopes the gesture will show the children that someone cares about them. “When I look around and see my children who have grown up now and caring for their own children, I feel like the efforts of these decades have not been in vain. “

“So that we can be face to face and involved in these great relationships of love. That’s really the goal this season, ”said Jensen.

Children five and older were also able to receive free COVID-19 vaccines as part of the party.


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