AURORA, Colo. – Two Aurora nonprofit organizations are hosting a teen shut-in event on New Years Eve at the Global Village Academy West Campus to provide a safe space for teens following months of youth violence throughout the city.
The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday, and teens will be required to stay until 10 a.m. Saturday.
“All of this is because we listened to the youth," said Auset Maryam, founder of Victory Project-Based Academics and Competency (VPAC). "After all the violence and everything that's going on, they said they wanted things to do."
VPAC and the nonprofit Compound of Compassion will host the shut-in for kids 12 to 17.
“There's going to be some vision board making, there's going to be a talent show, there's going to be, of course, leisure time for them to get to know each other," said Maryam. "Just a lot of things to prepare them for 2022 so that they can get their mindsets ready."
Teens will be required to take a COVID-19 test to participate in the shut-in, regardless of their vaccination status.
Maryam says organizers expect 150 students to attend, and they are asking for the community’s support. VPAC and Compound of Compassion launched a GoFundMe to raise money for the shut-in. They're also looking for volunteers.
Maryam says they will be accepting school supply donations.
“We just need folks involved," she said. "We need people to protect our programs because we are so much in the trenches and we just want to know that we can lean on the community."
15-year-old Josiah Thomas is going to the shut-in for the fun and safety it will provide.
“I think it'll be a nice break,” he said.
This year, the youth violence in Aurora personally impacted him.
“I had a friend, not that long ago, pass from it," Thomas said. "It was hard, but I got through it."
Maryam says she’s happy to provide a safe space for Aurora’s youth and hopes in 2022, teens gain friends through fun activities like the shut-in instead of losing them to violence.
Before the shut-in, there will be a vaccine clinic for kids from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.