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Montbello-based nonprofit provides outlet for teens during holiday week, hopes to curb violence

Free, open gym through Friday for teens.
Montbello-based nonprofit provides outlet for teens during holiday week, hopes to curb violence
Posted at 10:24 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 12:16:45-05

DENVER — After two shootings on or near high schools campuses in Aurora, a Montbello-based nonprofit is providing an outlet for teens during the holiday week in hopes to curb violence.

"We want kids to know that there's somewhere, there's an alternative... that there's something else," said Kyle Reese, program director for Athletics and Beyond.

The nonprofit provides year-round athletic and educational resources for youth in the Denver metro area.

Following last week's shootings — one outside of Hinkley High School and the other near Central High School — the nonprofit decided to host a free, open gym for teens in the area during Thanksgiving week.

"We know that there are a lot of kids that have a lot of time to themselves, so we want to limit that time by giving them a structured environment," Reese said.

There's training opportunities for a variety of sports, like basketball, football, weights and boxing. There's also study spaces.

"We try to tutor kids. We try to provide that mental health support," he said.

According to data provided by the Aurora Police Department, there's been a 53% increase in juvenile gun crime victims this year compared to the last.

"At some point, the kids behind the trigger have been failed, whether it was in the last six months or the last six years," Reese said. "I really think it is a matter of hope, and if I don't have hope for what I have in store for my future, then I'm willing to jeopardize what you have in store for your future."

Reese said grassroots nonprofits need increased financial support in order for programming to serve as a proactive step, rather than reactive.

"We need help from top to bottom and that's funding, that's structure," he said.

To donate to Athletics and Beyond, click here.