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High schoolers organize donation drive to help hundreds of migrant families in Denver

Students helping migrant families
Posted at 4:58 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 19:29:51-05

DENVER — Career Education Center (CEC) Early College students and staff members organized a donation drive Wednesday to help hundreds of Venezuelan families who recently arrived in Denver.

Several migrants have been living in encampments and a nearby hotel on Speer Boulevard and Zuni Street since the beginning of the school year.

According to school staff, most of the students speak Spanish and have interacted with the migrant families. Teachers showed students a video in late November about what the refugees went through to get to the United States and the dangers associated with crossing the Darien Gap.

The student government, community service club and National Honor Society decided to team up for a coat drive after seeing migrants without coats or warm clothing. After more staff and students got involved, the coat drive expanded into a resource fair and food distribution event.

Students said some of their parents went through a lot of hardships after immigrating to the U.S. so they wanted to help these families who are also experiencing that.

"Generations ago, my family was in the same situation. And just to, like, help them now is just like kind of giving back," said student Briseyda Sosa.

"It was important to me because my parents are immigrants. I'm a first generation," said student Kimberly Espinoza.

Some of the high schoolers said they've been educating themselves on why and how the families came to the United States.

"They had to travel through Venezuela, and then through Central America to even get to Texas. And that journey was extremely dangerous because they had to journey through jungles in the wilderness," said student Jayden Clockston.

"Some of us went through class by class teaching our fellow peers about their journey and how they need help right now. And if they could, we asked them if they could donate at all. And look how amazing it turned out," added Clockston.

The school was able to collect enough items to help around 200 families during Wednesday's event.

"It's really just sad, to be honest, to see them on the street and struggling while a lot of other people are safe and comfortable in their home. So we just wanted to help out," said Clockston.

Here's how you can help refugees and immigrants coming to Denver

If you’d like to help as the city responds to this migrant crisis, you can do so with donations – either material or monetary. If opting for the former, the city is asking for the following items:

  • Socks (new/unopened only)
  • Bras - small/medium/large
  • Women’s clothing - small/medium/large
  • Men’s clothing - small/medium
  • Winter hats - gender neutral and kids/one size fits all
  • Winter gloves - men's, women's and kids/small and medium sizes
  • Scarves - various sizes

Those items can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • Community Ministry (Children's clothing only), located at 1755 S Zuni Street in Denver, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday
  • Para Ti Mujer, located at 150 Sheridan Boulevard Suite 200 in Lakewood, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday or Friday
  • Colorado Changemakers Collective, located at 12075 East 45th Avenue in Denver, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday

Please call 720-385-9173 before dropping off donations.
The city is also conducting a holiday gift drive for migrant children. Officials are collecting toys, clothes and school supplies through Dec. 18. Gifts should be easily transportable and cost no more than $25, according to city. You can learn more through this link.

If you want to donate money, you can donate to the Newcomers Fund.

High schoolers organize donation drive to help hundreds of migrant families in Denver

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