Keystone Club kids give seniors a Thanksgiving treat
More than 200 senior citizens enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the fixings Monday in what has become an annual pre-Thanksgiving present from area teenagers.
The Boys & Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley’s Keystone Club hosted its 38th annual Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner at the Shelton Senior Center. The event not only featured greetings from Mayor Mark Lauretti and Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira but also quality time with their teenage hosts.
“This is one of their absolute favorite events,” said Jennifer DeLeon, unit director, Boys & Girls Club, Lavietes Clubhouse. “The kids really love partnering with the senior center to put on this event. They love building relationships with the seniors that come.”
DeLeon said that the Keystone Club members plan and implement the whole event, which includes serving the food before dancing the evening away with their senior guests.
“They handle every ounce of what goes on here,” said DeLeon, adding that the club members hold fundraisers to help cover the costs associated with the annual event.
The program began with comments from Keystone Club President Siommara Hill, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by club member Sean Kneissl, reading of the Boys & Girls Club code by club member Carly Cipriano and the invocation by club member Kalie Cipriano.
“We’re very excited about this evening,” said Hill. “We are always looking for ways to give back to our community, and what better way to do this than spending the night with fantastic people such as yourselves.”
Keystone Club is a leadership development experience providing opportunities for young people ages 14 to 18 to participate, both in and out of the club, in activities in three focus areas — academic success, career preparation and community service — with the guidance of an adult adviser.
DeLeon said each year club members participate in regional and national youth leadership conferences. The students hold fundraisers to cover the costs of attending these conferences, where they join 2,500 other teens in leadership training.
Shelton Senior Center Director Doreen Laucella praised the Keystone Club members for hosting the event, closing by presenting a $200 donation from the senior center to the Boys & Girls Club.
“These kids go out and do different fundraisers so the seniors can have this meal,” said Laucella. “The seniors love this event. It is the highlight of the year.”