|01-04-2013, 12:24 AM||#1|
Darrent Williams Teen Center
C.J. Manning, 17, calls for a jump ball during a game of basketball at the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center on Thursday. The center is named for the former Bronco, below, who was murdered. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
Darrent Williams teen center thriving six years after Broncos cornerback's death
Posted: 01/04/2013 12:01:00 AM MST
By Patrick Saunders
The Denver Post
A beautiful bronze statue of Darrent Williams is near the entrance of the building. Inside, a colorful mural depicts Williams in his No. 27 Broncos jersey. Some of the kids here know the story of Williams' vibrant life and violent death six years ago this week. Many do not.
What they do know is that the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center in Montbello provides a haven, a second home and a second chance.
"I've been very impressed," said Williams' mother, Rosalind. "We wanted a place that would be interesting and educational. Something not just for today but for tomorrow. I think we have done that."
The teen center, a wing of the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club, cost $600,000 to build and opened in May
2008. It has a pool table and over-stuffed chairs for lounging. A computer lab provides a quiet place to study. An enormous big-screen TV, courtesy of Broncos guard Chris Kuper, draws kids like a magnet.
But the center is much more than a hangout. Covering the walls are photos of alumni who have gone on to colleges and universities such as Colorado, Regis, Arapahoe Community College, Texas Southern and Bethune-Cookman.
"We consider the teen center as a supplement to high school and something that is very needed," said Rich Barrows, the longtime director of the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club.
The club serves about 1,200 youths from the Montbello area, and about 40 percent of those are teenagers. While the on-time graduation rate at nearby Montbello High School was 60.1 percent in 2011, Barrows notes that "for the kids who are truly active in our teen center, they are graduating at better than 90 percent."
....C.J. Manning is one of those teens who desperately needed help.
"I would have been lost without this place," said Manning, who is in the running for the Colorado Boys and Girls Club's youth-of-the-year award.
Manning, an articulate 17-year-old who wears Von Miller-style glasses, has been coming to the club since he was 8. His mother gave birth to him when she was 12. Manning's father was 14 and spent a lot of time in juvenile detention after his son's birth.
"In my first 17 years, I have moved 17 times," Manning said. "There have been a lot of other roadblocks along the way."
He said he was tempted by gang life and drug use but was rescued by the teen center. Now, he's determined to go to college and has targeted Colorado or Howard University in Washington, D.C.
"If my mom wasn't there or my dad wasn't there — and they hardly ever were — I was always able to come back to this club," he said. "It's always been my most consistent home."
Until recently, that is. For the past year, Manning has lived with Broncos Ring of Famer Billy Thompson, now the team's director of community outreach. They established a friendship through Thompson's many years of involvement with the Boys and Girls Club.
For the rest of the article and comments: Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci...#ixzz2GzcLlPzI
Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams died at age 24 on New Year's Day in 2007. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)
Tyshawn Moore sits for a 10th-anniversary video at the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center on Thursday. The center caters to about 1,200 youths. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
Last edited by Bacchus; 01-04-2013 at 12:39 AM..
|01-04-2013, 06:57 AM||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2009
It's a really cool building, and they are doing a lot of great things for Denver's youth. Great story, and thanks for posting.
Nobody puts Jay-bee in the corner.
|01-04-2013, 09:08 AM||#7|
It's nice to see a follow-up story on this and I agree Billy Thompson is a great human being. I hope that kids parents are proud of themselves that they have to get someone else to raise their child.
|01-04-2013, 09:12 AM||#8|
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Topeka, KS
|01-04-2013, 09:14 AM||#9|
Oreo Lucian Rockefeller
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Birmingham, AL
very nice story and great to see that tragedy led to something positive.
|01-04-2013, 11:55 AM||#11|
Join Date: Apr 2001
Love it. Darrent Williams death hit me hard - like I didn't expect it would. My son had just been born, and I had my whole future ahead of me, and I related to Williams. Here was this young guy with plenty of talent who had his whole life ahead of him - dead in an instant. It gave me a lot to think about in the months after it happened, and I bought a pencil drawing of him off of Ebay to put on my wall to keep it fresh in my mind about how fragile life really is, and the importance each day has for us. No doubt that Williams woke up that morning feeling like he always felt, and didn't suspect that it was his last day on earth.