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Activists remain concerned over youth violence in Denver area

After two recent deaths of teenagers in the Denver metro area, activists say the community needs to search for more solutions to keep youth safe.

DENVER, Colorado — Two recent teenage deaths in Aurora have activists concerned that youth violence will keep surging to record levels. 

One teen was killed outside an apartment complex Friday. 

The second was shot to death at a hotel. An 18-year-old and three juveniles were arrested in connection with that shooting.

The violence has local activists concerned, including those who work with the Struggle of Love, a nonprofit aimed at helping at-risk youth. 

Jason McBride, a Secondary Violence Prevention Specialist with the organization, worries that shootings and violence could surge to the high levels the area saw in 2021. 

"The thing that I think I’m more concerned about than in the past, things are happening a lot sooner," McBride said.

He has already witnessed tragedy in the beginning of the year. 

"I think ultimately when we think of the big picture of youth and how we deal with them, we really haven’t met their needs in a long time. We haven’t been on their level in a long time, and it’s starting to show," McBride said.

He wants more solutions like addressing mental health and giving teens more opportunities to change their path or spend their time differently. 

Florencio Rodriguez works with the nonprofit and continues to work with kids. He spent time in prison himself, and works with young people to direct them to different choices.

"I seen that movie Pay It Forward, and I swore that if God let me touch the streets then there is some youth, there is something to fight for. I hope I got a little positivity in them," Rodriguez said.

The nonprofit has events set up throughout the week for spring break and coordinates a teen-run food drive every day.

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