DENVER (CBS4) – The after-school hours that many youth spend at the Boys & Girls Clubs shape their entire lives. The staff become mentors and work to build good character in each member.

“I’ve gotten a really good relationship with the staff here,” said Zach, 14.

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In the 7-years he’s been going to the Cope Club, Zach has really gotten to know the staff members.

“Andy has been my coach, and a good mentor to me,” he explained.

Andy is the Club Director, and the one-on-one time he spent with Zach made a big difference in the teen’s life.

“Back when I started, if someone would get me a little mad, I would get like rally mad. Andy has helped me calm down a lot,” Zach told CBS4.

Andy confirms that Zach would react with violence, but together they’ve worked on calmer responses to conflict.

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“He’s a good mental support, a good therapist. I can come to him with anything, social, personal, anything and just tell him,” he said.

Zach comes from a blended family of nine children. At Cope, he gets the time and attention he needs to be his best self.

“Feels pretty good,” he said.

Now the 14 year old is playing a new tune.

LINK: Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive

You can support the good work of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, and young people just like Zach by donating to our Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive. CBS4, along with KBCO and King Soopers, is collecting new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. Collection bins will be at participating King Soopers stores through Christmas Eve.

Libby Smith