East Harlem Center Keystone Club Honored for Work in Career Exploration and Community Service

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The Children’s Aid Society’s East Harlem Center has much to celebrate! The center’s Keystone Club recently attended the 2011 National Keystone Conference in Orlando, Florida, where they were awarded the top prize in Career Exploration for their CSI: East Harlem event held in the fall of 2010. The Keystoners wanted to explore the fields of criminology and forensic science after learning that many of their peers at the center share an interest in these potential career paths. They spent weeks planning, writing and rehearsing a CSI-inspired, murder mystery skit. Hard work also went into identifying key panelists who could share their experiences and knowledge with the center’s participants. Panel members included missing persons detective Roberto Santos, mystery/crime novelist Doug Magee, NYC Medical Examiner Dr. Vincent Tranchida and Assistant District Attorneys Shanda Strain and Jung Park. The event was a great success and with help from the panel of professionals, the murder mystery was solved!

Along with Florida’s warmth, the group brought back a shiny new plaque to add to their collection at the East Harlem Center, a Boys & Girls Club of America affiliate. The youth also received $1,500 to be used towards their club’s future projects.

The Keystone Club enables young people to demonstrate leadership and build character through community service projects and fundraising. The East Harlem Center Keystone Club also received a “Runner Up” award of $500 in the National Keystone Project: Save Our Society category. Their winning project was a program they designed called “Happy Feet for the Sole.” The youth collected shoes to be donated to communities in Senegal, Africa after learning of the growing number of people contracting parasitic diseases from walking around in dirty water, dirt and soil. The collection of shoes will help children and adults avoid such infections that can lead to the loss of limbs and in worse cases, death. The donation of over 100 pair of shoes will reach Senegal by way of YES, Inc., an organization in Georgia.

Congrats to The East Harlem Center’s award-winning Keystone Club!