By Jeff Todd
AURORA, Colorado (KCNC) — A Colorado group focused on helping teens in hanging on to some holiday spirit and hoping to make an impact in the community. The leaders at the Struggle of Love Foundation have been taking small groups of kids on shopping sprees around the Town Center Aurora mall, with funding from a well-known philanthropist.
“Through the blessings of Robert Smith. He reached out and said ‘hey, we want you with your influence to effect kids,’” said Jason McBride, a Secondary Violence Prevention Specialist with the Struggle of Love Foundation. “He knew how important it was as I did, when we were kids, Christmas was that one day where you got everything you wanted. Your parents made sure of that, and I don’t think we have enough of that now. That was the idea behind that and he was so supportive of that so he gave us $10,000 to do that.”
Struggle of Love tries to help underserved kids and families with programs and services. For most of the kids they received few to no presents at all. Even after the holiday a small gesture from the foundation went a long way.
“You could see the excitement that they had access to things they don’t have access to normally,” McBride said.
“I thought it was a very kind thing that he did for us today,” said Euryah Meyers who was part of a group of girls that got sweatshirts and new shoes. “It means a lot. I got the things that I needed, and I’m really grateful.”
McBride says he’s also tried to steer the kids toward small, local businesses in the mall.
“To go spend like $1,500 in Notorious on some of their stuff that the kids really like was definitely where we wanted to start,” he said.
The priority is making a memory and putting smiles on kids’ faces.
“I just wanted to do that for these kids. I wanted them to feel like I was able to feel as a kid. It makes me feel unbelievable. It really does,” McBride said. “All these kids know someone who has been shot or now somebody who has gone to jail. So, this is an opportunity to get your mind off that. You know, be a kid, right? Enjoy receiving something. It’s a blessing and understand that.”
A third group of kids will get to shop with the Struggle of Love Foundation on Wednesday, and McBride hopes to spend the remaining money, but he’s hoping the funding can come through again and create a yearly tradition.
“I hope next year we can be even bigger,” he said.
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