Youth at the East Harlem Center Keystone Club have been building an impressive name for themselves. Last year club members tackled the challenge of improving police and youth relations in their community. They decided to host #KnowYourRightsNYC, a forum to educate their peers about their civic rights. The project, part of the Boys and Girls Club Million Members Million Hours service initiative, directly addressed a serious issue in their neighborhood that the members were passionate about.
They were recognized regionally by the BGCA for their efforts. And now more recently, they have also received national praise from the BGCA Keystone Program, winning the first place Community Service Award and $1,250 from the organization.
This comes on the heels of a Boys and Girls Club Million Members Million Hours $24,000 grant to extend the East Harlem Center club's reach. That’s right, they will continue to provide service to their community, while also motivating their peers to participate. They plan to engage 1,600 more teens in service and are well on their way to reaching their goal.
“Teenagers who give back to their community tend to go through life making healthier lifestyle decisions,” said Midge Caparosa, the arts and leadership coordinator, who heads the Keystone program at the East Harlem Center.
She and a chaperone from the center accompanied seven teens from the club to the National Keystone conference in Dallas. There they joined 2,000 of their peers in attending workshops on public speaking, self-branding, and even managed to squeeze in a college fair. In the midst of all their work, the recognition provided a well-deserved opportunity for networking and fun.
We are incredibly proud of the East Harlem Keystone Club and are excited to see how they will continue to serve as great community leaders.