In our continuing coverage of the migrant enrollment crisis in Denver our exclusive series "Mcmeen in the Middle" takes an in-depth look at the struggle to keep up with the surge of students -- particularly at Mcmeen Elementary School.
On Saturday, many of those who are adjusting to life in Colorado got the chance to just be kids as they attended a birthday party for one of their classmates. The kids and families talked about the impact migration is having on their lives and adjusting to a new country.
When it comes to birthday parties it is common to bring presents, but one young boy, Julian Arriaza, decided he didn't want that to be a factor when inviting his whole class, therefore he told his classmates not to worry about bringing presents.
"I just want to celebrate with them" said Arriaza.
Julian hosted his classmates at Sky Zone in Aurora, his only wish was to have his classmates attend.
"It's important for him to spend time with them, in fact he even said I don't want gifts this year 'I just want them all to come to my party,'" said Kathleen Arriaza, Julian's mom.
Julian is in a dual - language class at Mcmeen Elementary School which means he speaks both English and Spanish.
Which is helpful, since many of his classmates only speak one language. Many of them just got to the U.S. less than a year ago.
"He's always just really felt like he relates to a lot of kids in different ways, with different backgrounds, he's always coming home telling us the stories of their families," said Arriaza.
Stories of families like Maikol Salloum-Rosas's family who came from Colombia. They are now adjusting to life in the U.S., making friends and learning the culture.
Many of Julian's classmates have similar journeys, and attending their first birthday party in the U.S. is key to building community and camaraderie.
"They have gone through a lot and so just having the chance to have a carefree couple of hours, running around and spending time with friends, is really special to us," said Arriaza.
The family has also set up an online donation fund to help migrant families with basic needs such as utility bills and groceries. It's called "Help McMeen Migrant families" and it's on GoFundMe.
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