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For kids who have lost a loved one to violence, the holidays can be a difficult time. But a team of volunteers are trying to make things a bit brighter all year round.
On Sunday, a group of children met with the volunteers to connect and support and brighten spirits.

Ky’Miyah, ia first grader from Englewood, was among the children. Her school, Dulles Elementary, was placed on lockdown because of a shooting nearby. The victim was Ky’Miyah’s father.

Sam Elster is Ky’Miyah’s teacher and nominated her for the program.

“She wasn’t aware and I wasn’t aware of who it was when we went into that lockdown,” she said. “She’s a tough one, she’s a fighter and I’m impressed with her resilience.”

The program not only gave the children gifts on Sunday, but the children are paired with an adult, a mentor, to keep in contact with.

The volunteer adults said they are ready to make a difference on an ongoing basis.

“We’re here to try and lift their day, you know? Help them out as much as we can,” Eduardo Rodriguez said.

Sunday’s meet and greet was the launching point for what has the potential to be a lifelong connection.

The volunteers will check in with the children on a weekly basis via phone or Zoom and monthly events will also be held.