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East Harlem Youth Win National Keystone Club Excellence Award

The Children’s Aid Society East Harlem Center won the Excellence Award at Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) National Keystone Conference held in Dallas last week.  Keystone is BGCA’s premier teen character and leadership program focusing on Community Service, Academic Success, Career Preparation and Teen Outreach.

The 2016 Keystone Youth Conference, presented by Aaron’s, Inc. also allowed teens the opportunity to voice their opinions about the issues facing America’s youth and share their inspiring visions for change. The theme of the conference this year was “Year of the Teen” to help teens gain a sense of hope and discover their inner power to make a difference in their lives, their Clubs and local communities.

The award recognizes outstanding efforts of Keystone Club members throughout the year. Seven teenagers from East Harlem, New York went to Dallas for the conference where they were immersed in an action-packed “Year of the Teen” itinerary, filled with leadership development workshops, professional mentors and inspiring role models focused on empowering teens to find their voice and create their own great future.

 “We are very proud of our East Harlem teen leaders for all that they do through Keystone. This award is great recognition for the character and leadership skills our youth represent in our local community,” said site director David Giordano.

"Now in our second year as a national partner of BGCA and advocate for teens, we are proud of the Keystone program’s continual development of talent, leadership and character skills in Keystone Club members," said Andrea Freeman, Vice President, Marketing, Aaron’s, Inc. "We hope this much-deserved award serves as a reminder to these teens of just how much they are valued and the enormous power they have to make a difference in the world."

Last year the club members hosted a #KnowYourRightsNYC forum to educate peers in their community on their civic rights, as part of the Boys and Girls Club Million Members Million Hours service initiative. The project, a combination of a problem the group identified and the passion of its members, won the club first place for the Community Service Award and $1,250 from Keystone. It also secured the club a $24,000 Million Members Million Hours grant to extend their services to 1,600 people in their community. The club is close to reaching this goal this month.

The 2016 Keystone Youth Conference, presented by Aaron’s, Inc., also allowed teens the opportunity to voice their opinions about the issues facing America’s youth and share their inspiring visions for change. The theme of the conference this year was “Year of the Teen” to help teens gain a sense of hope and discover their inner power to make a difference in their lives, their Clubs and local communities.

The 49th Annual Keystone Conference was attended by 2,300 teen leaders from 157 cities and five countries. To learn more about Keystone go to bgca.org.

About The Children’s Aid Society
The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (917) 204-8214, email anthonyr@childrensaidsociety.org or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.

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