By Helen Klein
Calling all area youth.The 70th Precinct Explorers will be holding an open house on Tuesday, February 21st, at 6:30 p.m., at the precinct, 154 Lawrence Avenue. The goal of the event is to enroll new members in the group.At the February meeting of the Community Board 14 Public Safety Committee, which was held at the board office, 810 East 16th Street, P.O. Yvonne Breiner, the precinct youth officer, urged her listeners to spread the word about the open house.“We’d like to get as many people out for the open house as possible,” Breiner told her listeners. “One of the unique things about the 70th Precinct is that it is a very diverse command. It runs the gamut of so many nationalities. We can really lead the city as an example of how we can really bring all the communities together and involve them in this program.”The program, Breiner said, is focused on people age 14 through 20. “It teaches leadership, responsibility and the benefits of public services,” Breiner explained. In addition, she said, “If they are interested in becoming police officers or law enforcement personnel, they can become involved.”It also lets them get to know police officers, noted Ed Powell, who is a CB 14 member as well as president of the 70th Precinct Community Council. “One of the good things,” he stressed, “is that it introduces young people to police officers, and allows them to see that they are human beings, ‘just like me.’”Students involved in the program, said Breiner, participate in a variety of volunteer activities, helping other members of the community. The program focuses on giving young people who are involved experience in leadership, providing them with positive adult role models and providing experience in six areas – career, community service, leadership, fitness, social skills and the outdoors.In addition, participation, Breiner said, “Can earn credits toward scholarship programs that are issued not solely on academic excellence but on their service to the community. I think it’s a phenomenal program,” Breiner enthused.Part of participation in the Explorers involved competition between individual posts. The winning local posts go on to national competition. Last year, recalled Breiner, a Coney Island-based post, associated with the PSA, was one of four posts that represented New York City in national competitions. “They had such a sense of accomplishment,” stressed Breiner.The NYPD Law Enforcement Explorer program was originated, said Breiner, by the Boy Scouts of America, but has been taken over by Learning for Life. In 1999, more than 4,000 young people were enrolled in the program.The registration fee for becoming an Explorer is $7. The registration fee for becoming a Junior Investigator (age 12-13) is $5. The cost of an Explorer uniform, said Breiner, is approximately $90. To help defray costs, Breiner said the group would do fund-raising.For further information, contact the precinct at 718-851-5524 or 718-851-5511. General information about the program is also available on line, at www.learning-for-life.org/exploring or www.nyexploring.org.