The Jefferson County Branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver celebrated Boys & Girls Club week on April 6 with a health fair and visit from Lakewood’s mayor.
The club, housed at O’Connell Middle School, sees more than 100 children and students a day, and is one of the newer club sites — it will be three years old in August.
“Each club in the Denver area is doing their own events to celebrate this week,” said Laura Graham, marketing and communications coordinator with the club. “Here there are so many amazing relationships with the local firefighters and police officers.”
On hand to celebrate were many of the people and groups that helped get the club off the ground, including mayor Bob Murphy, Ward 3 councilwoman Sue King, the Lakewood Police and West Metro Fire Departments, and Leslie Dahlkemper, president of the Jeffco School Board.
Graham said that helping the students lead healthier lifestyles is a key aspect of the work the Boys & Girls Club does, and that is why the club had a health fair for its celebration.
“We’ve got all kinds of stations set up, from dental health to internal health,” she said.
“There are kids coming to us without any nutritional information, and so we’ve got a huge push towards healthy living. They’re receiving access to foods like broccoli and squash that they haven’t had before.”
The O’Connell location already has a community garden that members tend, and use the food they grow to host a farmer’s market.
Club members were also selling tickets for its 2013 Dream House Raffle, which is the organization’s largest fundraiser.
King is a regular volunteer with the club and said it receives great support from the community.
“This place provides a stabilizing situation for kids,” she said. “’We hear things from the students say that no one judges them there and this is a second home, and while we don’t like to hear that kids are experience that, it’s nice to know they have this place to help them.”
Murphy read a proclamation declaring the week Boys & Girls week, and thanked all the members for being there to make the club what it is.
“Thank you for being members of the club — you guys are my heroes,” he said.
For more information on the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver, visit www.bgcmd.org.