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White Plains Student Wins With MLK Day T-Shirt

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Tiana Syriaque and her family joined dozens at city hall on Tuesday to watch the Volunteer Center of United Way unveil the winning Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service T-shirt design contest drawn by the White Plains sixth grader.

Tiana, a Highlands student, said she found out her image of several people standing around the planet was selected just before Christmas break.

"I like to draw a lot and I've entered a lot of contests before, but I never won," said Tiana, who participates in the Youth Bureau's Girls Inc. "I was surprised."

Her design was printed on 450 bright orange T-shirts, where it will help promote community service projects planned to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day this Saturday. Tiana says she plans to volunteer this weekend, but hasn't decided which site to stop by.

Tiana's "beautiful" design will also help highlight local schools' achievements, according to Mayor Thomas Roach.

"Natural talent nurtured by teaching is the real key," Roach said of assessing local schools. "I think we all see evidence of that today with Tiana."

Roach and Frank Williams, the Executive Director of the Youth Bureau, urged residents to take a cue from King, who once said your life is measured by the work you do for others, and volunteer this Saturday.

"When Sept. 11 comes around and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many people want to do something for their community. They want to do it, but they just never seem to get to it," said Roach. "That's where the Volunteer Center comes in because it makes it easy."

The Volunteer Center of United Way has organized 29 community service projects across Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties for its second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service this Saturday. Last year more than 200 volunteers signed up.

Volunteer opportunities in White Plains include: making collages related to the American civil rights leader and reading books about him at the Youth Bureau, painting residents' rooms at the YMCA, handcrafting cards for children in the hospital at the YMCA, learning and making art about King at the library and helping sort and package outfits at the Pass it On Kid's Kloset.

Visit the Volunteer Center's website for more information or to sign up for a community service project.

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