Crystile Carter, host of the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club Annual Christmas Tree Ball.

NEW YORK - For 128 years, this organization has been opening its clubhouses to children who need a safe, friendly positive learning environment, in order to reach their full potential. They are saving lives on a daily basis. The ball profiles groups from the clubhouses, singing, dancing and distributing holiday gifts to the assembled, black-tie crowd. At most similar events, the task of hosting the evening is delegated to an actress or T.V. anchor, a sports luminary or stand-up comedian, a titan of Wall Street or a professional emcee.

Madison Square had a better idea this year. The evening was brilliantly led by 18-year-old Crystile Carter, who grew up in the club. With dignity and exemplary clarity, she introduced the evening’s program, commanding the vast space of Cipriani 42nd Street with all the aplomb of a veteran. Products of the foster care system, she and her brother and sister grew up with ten different families all over the city, but she always found her way back to the Clubhouse. As she says, “ I come because it has taught me how to be responsible, respectful, caring and to take pride in myself…the Clubhouse will always be the little building on the corner that I call my real home.”

Honorable Bruce S. Gelb bidding at the charity auction.

It comes as no surprise to your correspondent that this beautiful young lady has recently been named Northeast Regional Youth of the Year, New York State Youth of the Year and Columbus Clubhouse 2012 Youth of the Year.  

The live auction and funding appeal raised $575,000 in less than 20 minutes. Most of the credit for this unprecedented success can be attributed to Crystile. Watch this space – she’s headed for the top!