When members of the Broncos Boys and Girls Club in Montbello started putting together a video presentation to win some funding for a new teen center they had no idea what would come of their proposal. And none of them ever thought their dream would be tied to the death of a Broncos player. The New Year’s Day murder of cornerback Darrent Williams rocked the entire Broncos organization and left a hole in the heart of countless friends, family and fans — including the teenagers who frequent the team’s Boys and Girls Club.
But they now take some comfort in the fact they’ll not only get their teen center, but also be a part of Williams’ ongoing legacy. Denver television station KCNC-TV has learned that the Broncos recently announced plans to take an abandoned building on the Boys and Girls Club campus and turn it into the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center. The Broncos decided to support the teen center concept after much debate on how to best honor Williams’ memory. Vice president of community development Cindy Galloway Kellogg said creating a lasting legacy was on top of everyone’s mind.
She said the teen center concept “offered a unique, collaborative opportunity” with the Club, itself a key part of the Broncos’ efforts to improve the lives of children across Colorado. Rich Barrows, branch director at the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club, said the Club has been in need of more space for years and that this project will alleviate over-crowding and provide a special place for teens — a group Williams himself sought to influence. Proceeds from the Mike Shanahan Golf Classic (about $125,000) will go to the teen center project. Galloway Kellogg said another $250,000 from a Denver community improvement project grant could come as soon as Sept. 1. If that happens, construction crews would be at work within days.
Additionally, all donations from the sale of Denver Broncos license plates from July through December will help fund construction and furnishings for the teen center. A second phase of the project would also include a full-size gym. The center, in part designed by Club members with help from OZ Architecture, will include places to study, record music, relax and hold leadership seminars and meetings. The Keystone Club — a leadership program for teenagers — has been active at the branch for some time and would expand with the extra space. Other teen programs will include information on finances, volunteer efforts and preparation for life after high school. The project also includes a life-size bronze statue of Williams and wall space for a mural in his honor.
But it is the work that will go on inside the building that Williams would be truly proud of and something that will have an lasting effect on teens for decades to come. “These kids have nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters,” Barrows said. “They want to be able to come back from college and say ‘Hey, look what we did for you. We were thinking about you…’ “We’re looking forward to having that special place and special programs for teens in Darrent’s name.”
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