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Summer camp welcomes refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine

On Friday, Camp Kind invited a group of refugee children for a day of fun and games in Thornton.

THORNTON, Colo. — Camp Kind isn't like most summer camps.

Campers volunteer with non-profits in the Denver area to directly help their communities.

“We want the kids to walk away from Camp Kind feeling that everything they’ve done over here is going to impact them when they leave camp," explained Rabbi Benjy Brackman, director of Camp Kind.

On Friday morning, Camp Kind invited a young group of refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine for a day of fun and games at Rocky Top Middle School in Thornton.

“We thought it was important for the kids to look outside themselves and consider doing something to give back to the community," Brackman said.

Shahdukht Baheej, 11, and two of her brothers joined campers and played carnival games inside the school. 

A year ago, Baheej said her family escaped Kabul, but she was badly injured in a bombing at the airport.

“I was in a coma for 12 days and then I woke up," Baheej said. “I’ve been in hospital for three months.”

Baheej said she lost three of her uncles, but her immediate family and several of her cousins made it safely to the United States. 

The Broomfield Resettlement Task Force helped Baheej and her family find a new home in Colorado. The task force has helped about 75 refugees, including seven families from Afghanistan and two from Ukraine.

"Our Broomfield refugee families are thankful for the community who supports them in a way that honors their story, both in where they came from and the strong roots they are creating here," said Heidi Henkel, Broomfield city council member and director of the Broomfield Resettlement Task Force.

On Friday, Camp Kind campers gifted Baheej and other refugee kids bags full of toys and gift cards.

For a kid like Baheej who's experienced a lot of grown up things, a Friday full of fun was just what she needed.

“It’s so good!" She said. "I love it, and thank you for the people. We’re having a lot of fun.”

The Broomfield Community Foundation launched the Afghan Evacuee Fund to support families who evacuated Afghanistan. The fund helps families in need of medical, mental health, housing and transportation support.

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