East Harlem Anti-Violence Campaign Wins Top Prize

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The Children’s Aid Society’s East Harlem Center Keystone Club focused its 2012 community service efforts on an anti-violence campaign (called “WHY?”) to bring attention to the prevalence of gang violence and child abuse in the community. The East Harlem Keystone Club provides young people ages 14 to 18 with unique leadership development opportunities, career preparation and community service.

Throughout the year, the East Harlem Keystone youth organized rallies, press conferences, town hall meetings and forums in order to raise awareness on violence in their community and to do outreach to those affected by or who are at risk of experiencing child abuse or gang violence.

Along the way, they collaborated with East Harlem Center Torch Club members with the intention of taking their concerns to elected officials and reaching out to younger kids before they get pulled into gangs or abusive situations. The members worked tirelessly to organize a child abuse information room for parents and youth. Through their hard work and efforts, the group raised almost $1,000, which they donated to a charity that helps victims of child abuse.

This past November, members of the club took home the first place award for their project at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America 2012 North East Regional Keystone Conference.

Inspired by the efforts of the Keystone Club, most of the eighth grade Torch Club members that collaborated in this powerful campaign, as well as a few teens that attended an Anti-Violence Youth Forum, have now joined the East Harlem Keystone Club.

Choosing anti-violence as their community service theme this year had a tremendous and positive impact on the entire East Harlem community.