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Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver Q&A: 2015 Broncos Club Youth of the Year Jennifer Banuelos

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What does the Broncos Boys & Girls Club mean to you?**
"The Boys & Girls Club to me means having fun with the staff and the kids here, even the little kids because my brothers and sisters can come here too. So it's pretty fun."

When and why did you become a member of the Boys & Girls Club?
"It's been three years now. I joined because I was curious of what it was—my cousin was a member and she told me it was pretty fun. So when I came and joined I enjoyed it so I kept coming back."

What kind of activities do you do at the club?
"I play sports like soccer and volleyball at the club. I also joined the Keystone program so I'm a leader at the club, and sometimes I just come here to work."

What are some of your favorite things about being a member of the Boys & Girls Club?
"One of my favorite things to do is being involved when it comes to big events, festivals—I love joining in to volunteer and being interactive with kids."

What is the Keystone program?
"The Keystone program is a leadership and community service program. So it gave me a lot of leadership skills and I can continue to use those skills outside of my community at school or at home. So we do a lot of community service work at the retirement center or at the Broncos stadium we give out the Gameday programs. Then we use some of the money we gain from fundraisers to go to the National Keystone Conference. This year we're going to go to Orlando, Fla., which will be really fun."

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DeMarcus Ware and five of his teammates spent Monday afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver.

How do you use your first language of Spanish to help the club?**
"A lot of parents that speak only Spanish or don't know a lot of English, I know how to translate it since it's been a couple of years since I learned both. It's a really good skill to carry because they understand and they feel more close to home because they feel they have somebody that can compare to them or understand them because I speak Spanish as well."

Has your Spanish helped with families visiting the club?
"Yeah, I help them a lot. There was this one time this parent only spoke Spanish, so I had to translate and give them a tour around the whole club. They enjoyed it, they understood everything."

What are some of the things the staff and volunteers have done to help you?
"A lot of staff here has helped me. For example, Miss Alex is a really good art teacher. She also helped me when it comes to homework because she's not just an art teacher, but she also knows a lot about college, tuition, and scholarships. So she helps me a lot in that, too."

What does it mean to be a Broncos club Youth of the Year award winner?
"To be selected as Youth of the Year, it means for me to have to be a bigger role model and leader, so you have to take it to the next level towards not just being a leader at the club but a leader outside of my community. This process was kind of putting everything I've done here at the club together and trying to realize and show people what it means to be a leader and how I'm better as a leader than I am as a student."

What was the process like to be chosen as a Youth of the Year?
"I had to go through a couple of interviews—about four—and then another one here at the club against the other members, so it was challenging."

What's next for you?
"I do want to keep continuing to apply to as many scholarships as I can. And as I go along I want to get accepted and attend CSU, go to the CSU campus and get tours and do campus events. If I don't get in there, I'll try to go to Metro State, CSU-Pueblo or somewhere else in Colorado."

And will you be the first in your family to attend college?
"Yeah, it's big!"

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