And the winners are… Are you interested in knowing what projects were awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place standings in the 2015 Keystone Awards Program? Click the link for a summary of the winning projects in each category. Thank you to all the Keystone Clubs who submitted projects this year and a huge thank you to Aaron’s Inc. for being our judges.
2015 Keystone Awards Program Summary
Community Service- 1st Place
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Gardiner, Greater Gardiner Keystone Club
Project: The Suitcase Project
After observing some of their friends, peers, and even fellow Keystone Club members who had been placed in the foster care system, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gardiner realized that kids were made to transport their personal items from household to household by way of trash bags. Understanding that this was a degrading request for an already less than fortunate situation, the Club decided to take action. They spent months collecting suitcases from community members as well as fundraising and applying for grants in order to be able to purchase brand new suitcases and wheeled duffle bags to provide to DHHS caseworkers as replacement for the trash bags. The members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Gardiner even took it a step further and also contacted local pharmacies, dental offices, and fabric stores. These businesses donated items that are essential to a teen’s hygiene and they used these items to stuff the suitcases. Because of their efforts, the Club was able to provide 100 suitcases to DHHS and also learned that no matter what your age is or how big a problem is, teamwork and selflessness can not only improve a community but can also make a lifetime impact on an individual.
Community Service- 2nd Place
Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, Diverse Unity Keystone Club
Project: ESL Class
Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club focused on an issue that was extremely relevant to a lot of their personal lives. Because many had family members who were immigrants, the teens knew the importance of knowing English for social acceptance and economic opportunities so they decided to become trained by a professor from Touro Law School and run an ESL class for adult learners in their community. Partnering with St. Patrick’s Church, the teens were able to run two (beginner and intermediate level) 12 week classes throughout the summer where they were able to service a total of 37 of their community members.
Community Service- 3rd Place
Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club, Kachina Keystone Club
Project: Shop with a Keystone Cop
Hosting their 2nd annual Shop with a Keystone Cop event, Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club partnered with Pojoaque Tribal Police, Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State police, and Rio Arriba Sheriff’s department who provided a total of 16 police officers to help out with the event. These officers, along with Keystone members, took Club members on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart where they were able to pick out an outfit, winter jacket, socks, shoes, and a toy. After shopping, everyone went to lunch at Furr’s Cafeteria, went to Baskin Robins for ice cream, and ended the day at the movie theatre viewing Big Hero 6 before being escorted back to the Club in police cars with lights and sirens. The members of Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club were able to provide 14 less than fortunate children with a Christmas they will never forget.
Academic Success- 1st Place
Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, Nan Knox Panthers Keystone Club
Project: Nan Knox Teaching Academy
The members of the Nan Know Panthers Keystone Club made it their personal responsibility to ensure that the younger members of their Club succeed academically. Six Keystone Club members constructed parental documents, record keeping, testing materials, and handouts as well as organized a successful tutoring program which has brought in 25 students to-date, with an interest list of 21 additional students. Each Keystone Club member is responsible for keeping track of attendance and assisting 4 Club members for 4 days a week in the areas of reading, math, language arts, science, social studies, writing, and class projects.
Academic Success- 2nd Place
Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, Wolverines Keystone Club
Project: Committed to Excellence in Education
The Wolverines Keystone and Torch Clubs supported their peers by facilitating a FCAT test as well as connecting the students with Broward College which allowed the teens to experience an introduction to college opportunities.
Academic Success- 3rd Place
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Keystone Tigers Club
Project: Embrace the Magic of Books
The Keystone Tigers Club decided to tackle the issue of low reading scores in their community. The Club started off by partnering with the Redwood City Library, hosting a workshop for parents to inform them about different resources and programs the library provided. Additionally, the Club held four other workshops where the participants were able to make their own book and bookmark, decorate a library bag, and participate in acting classes where children got to be involved in fun and interactive activities that focused on making reading fun.
Career Preparation- 1st Place
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Broncos Keystone Club
Project: Career Portfolio
Seeing how competitive the college and workforce is, Broncos Keystone Club decided to help enable their members to be as professionally prepared as possible. In order to accomplish this, Keystoners and Club members assembled a portfolio that showcases their skills, accomplishments, and involvements. Each portfolio is complete with a Career Launch Assessment that highlights the interests and skills of the Keystoner, including their resume, cover letter, awards, recommendation letters, writing samples, transcripts, and descriptions of service projects, photos, and fliers from projects the Keystoners have led and served in. This portfolio has been an essential tool for the Club members in their applications to scholarships, colleges, and career searches.
Career Preparation- 2nd Place
Boys & Girls Clubs of La Habra, Keystone Achievers
Project: Camp Taco Bell
The Keystone Achievers were able to get some hands on experience in the work force through a two-day camp hosted by Taco Bell at the Taco Bell headquarters. They were able to learn all of the different elements that go into running the company and were then tasked with the challenge to apply those elements in a competition. Teens were able to create their own product and then present it to Taco Bell franchisees using all the strategies and processes they had learned earlier in the camp. Boys & Girls Clubs of La Habra was a finalist in the competition, which awarded the teens a $5,000 scholarship and $2,500 towards their Club. The teens also got the opportunity to sell their product at Huntington Park Taco Bell Restaurant where they sold the most burritos winning them an overall first place in the competition.
Career Preparation- 3rd Place
Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield, Ridgefield Tigers Keystone Club
Project: Job Shadowing
Ridgefield Tigers Keystone Club provided the opportunity for 20 Keystoners to shadow a professional in a career that was of interest. The Club members did a lot of preparation work in order to prepare for the actual job shadowing day. To start off, they contacted a member of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce who put them in contact with the companies that were willing to allow the teens to job shadow for a day. The teens then followed up with the companies to determine what each company’s expectations were for the teen that would be visiting their business. The Club wanted to make this experience as educational and professional as possible so they spent several weeks before the job shadowing day bringing in specialist to prepare them for a real life work environment. The specialists led seminars that guided the teens through interview skills, resume building, and do’s and don’ts of the professional work force as well as tips on what to do and how to interact on the day of the actual job shadowing. As a culmination to the program, the Club hosted a career fair where they invited the mentors they had shadowed and gave presentations on the things they got to experience and learn during the program.
Teen Outreach- 1st Place
Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County, No-Limit Keystone Club
Project: Blowin’ It Up
In order to recruit new teens to the Club, Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County hosted a late night game night filled with tons of activities for prospective members to attract to. The Club brought in huge blowups (inflatables) that included a Rock n’ Roll obstacle course as well as other games such as basketball and activities set up in the game room. As an additional feature, a high school band was brought in to perform. This event was not only able to bring in 29 non-Club members, but 18 new members were recruited through this project.
Teen Outreach-2nd Place
Boys & Girls Club of Benton County, Unidos Keystone Club
Project: Biscuit Jam & Teen Night Out
Looking to find a new way to attract teens to the Club, the Unidos Keystone Club decided to go outside the box and include Self Destruct, a local group of skateboarders and BMX’ers, as part of a joint effort to show the teens in the community something new. The group hosted a demo show as well as allowed teens the opportunity to sign up for the skateboarding/BMX competition. The Keystone members along with Self Destruct oversaw the logistics in terms of how the event would run, advertisement, food donations, and even recruited volunteers. The Club added an extra component to their outreach by hosting a second program called Teen Night Out. This event, after two months of planning, allowed local teens the opportunity to come see what Club life is all about. They implemented a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a dance off, photo booths, and a movie room. The teens even set up a concession stand and had prize door drawings. In all, this Club was able to attract an incredible 200 teens to their Club.
Teen Outreach-3rd Place
Boys & Girls Club of Benton County, League of Leaders Keystone Club
Project: Weekend Camp Out
League of Leaders Keystone Club decided to host a unique event experience in order to help attract new teens to their Club. Keystone members selected their friends as the target group for recruitment and each member was allowed to invite one friend to a two day one night rock climbing trip at Horse Shoe Canyon. While on site, the teens got to participate in a true camping experience. Keystoners were in charge of organizing the event, getting parental permission slips, and also finding qualified volunteers during the rock climbing portion of the trip. After this portion of the outreach, Keystoners wanted to focus on in-house recruiting so they turned to their Torch Club members. They wanted to make sure the younger Club members were aware of how important it is to stay connected with the Club, so the teens organized another camping trip where they interacted with and involved the younger Club members in every aspect of the fun.
HOPE: Hold On, Persuade & Empower (2013-14 National Project)-1st Place
Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, Keystone Griffins
Project: Teen Mental Health Help
Looking into the lives of some of their very own Keystone Club members, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County decided to take on a project that would literally save teen lives. Since the spring of 2014, the Keystone Griffins have been working with the New Jersey State legislators to enact legislation that allows adolescents (ages 13 and older) to access mental health services without parental consent. They realized that some youth are in need and seeking this type of help but because they may be afraid to tell their parents or their parents don’t allow them to receive help; these teens are left suffering from depression and some even attempt suicide. This program aims to promote counseling and therapy for the teens who are at-risk.
HOPE: Hold On, Persuade & Empower (2013-14 National Project)-2nd Place
Ramstein AB Youth Programs, Ramstein Keystone Club
Project: Color Run & E-LEMON-ator Golf Tournament
The Ramstein Keystone Club focused their efforts on teen suicide and self-harm. The Club originally wanted to just bring awareness to their peers about teen suicide so they created an outreach group and created informational bookmarks with quick facts on teen suicide and contact information as well as lemon drops wrapped in yellow ribbon, the color for suicide awareness. This effort reached 500 teens but unfortunately, shortly after the outreach, the air base experienced its first teen suicide. The community as a whole was greatly affected by this so the teens at Ramstein AB Youth Programs decided to jump into action to restore the sense of hope and community on the base. The members decided to sponsor the first on-base Color Run and donated the proceeds to the Kristin Brooks Hope Center which is in support of a hotline for individuals dealing with thoughts of suicide. The teens not only organized an event that brought in 900 participants, they were able to also provide additional information on suicide and also raised a total of $7,561.90 to donate to the Kristin Brooks Hope Center. As an additional fundraiser, the teens hosted the E-LEMON-ator Golf Tournament for military leaders. This event also provided facts on suicide awareness and raised over $1500.00 to purchase resources for the high school in partnership with the Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Services.
HOPE: Hold On, Persuade & Empower (2013-14 National Project)-3rd Place
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Elite Keystone Club
Project: Drug-Free is a Living Opportunity
Elite Keystone Club joined with the Seattle P.E.A.C.E Coalition in order to promote living a drug free lifestyle. Keystone members organized an informational event that hosted a discussion panel, information fair, door prizes, and a t-shirt giveaway. As part of the program, Keystoners were able to get teens to sign a pledge form that agreed them to live a drug-free lifestyle. In order to help this project be successful, the Keystone Club applied for and received a grant for $3,500 which will go towards hosting quarterly “Drug-Free” Teen Late Night events.