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DENVER (CBS4) – Children who go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver often call the clubs a second home. They spend a significant amount of time after school at the clubs, they bond with the staff member, and they learn a lot about themselves and other people.

larissa 1 Boys & Girls Clubs Become A Second Home

(credit: CBS)

Larissa is one of those club members.

larissa 2 Boys & Girls Clubs Become A Second Home

(credit: CBS)

She runs the Play 60 program in the gym. She’s required to direct the other children in activities that keep them moving. The fact that she does the job is proof that she’s come a long way.

LINK: Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive

“I remember myself being a really sky kid,” she told CBS4.

In her 8 years of going to the Johnson Boys & Girls Club, she’s taken advantage of every opportunity, including organized sports like soccer, field trips like to the Broncos games, and leadership programming like Youth of the Year.

“I just really like how you can be so open. Even if you’re a really shy type of person, you become open, to the point that you socialize a lot more than you have,” Larissa explained.

larissa 31 Boys & Girls Clubs Become A Second Home

(credit: CBS)

It’s her experiences at the club that are shaping the young woman she’s growing into.

“I learned that it really doesn’t matter what background you come from, where you’re from, it just matters that you’re you,” she said.

CBS4 is supporting teens like Larissa through the Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive. There are collection bins in participating King Soopers stores and all the donations of new toys get distributed to the members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

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