GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– While the messages written in these cards are all a little different, the meaning is the same. It’s one of love and hope.

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(credit: CBS)

About 50 strangers gathered on a Saturday to hopefully stir the souls of some teenagers that are often forgotten. These cards will soon be sent to Lookout Mountain Youth Services, a juvenile detention facility in Golden.

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Avian (credit: CBS)

It’s a place where hundreds of our young people are lost and locked up. It’s a story Avian knows all too well. He used to live there.

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(credit: CBS)

“I was incarcerated at Lookout for about three years. It was rough. It’s a lot of time in the cell. A lot of time thinking,” said Avian.

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(credit: CBS)

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CBS4’s Karen Leigh interviews Avian (credit: CBS)

Avian told CBS4’s Karen Leigh that he ended up there after running with the wrong crowd and making poor choices. It’s because he’s been there that he knows the weight and worth of these written words. Especially at Christmas.

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(credit: CBS)

“It’s crazy, because it’s like all we get… things like fruit snacks, socks, shampoo, Chapstick. Once you get these gifts it makes you think like, ’Wow, somebody really cares about me. Taking time out of their day to show me that I can be something in this life.’ Just having your own personal Chapstick… it’s really special.”

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(credit: CBS)

Avian says Youth For Christ and its Wreath of Light program was the spark that lifted the darkness around him. The gift bag just the beginning. It was through Youth for Christ that he met his mentor, Preston, who changed his life.

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(credit: CBS)

“It really touched me in a special way because I never had a father figure and was really bad and he never gave up on me.”

He says if it were not for Preston, he would no doubt be in prison.

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(credit: Youth for Christ)

“I thank God that he came into my life. He showed me love… he showed me love.”

So today, he too writes a few words knowing the life-changing power they offer to the person who reads them.

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(credit: CBS)

Karen Leigh

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