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Secret Service Visit

Excitement was in the air today at Sullivant Gardens Community Center, as we welcomed the Secret Service for our Starfish Connect program. We had so much fun learning about their duties, trying on their vests, asking questions, learning how to be agents, and playing dodgeball!

Special Agent in Charge Yvonne Dicristoforo encouraged the children to think of careers in the Secret Service. She mentioned that even if they don't want to go into law enforcement, the agency is looking for many other talented people.

Agents Drew Cole and AJ Husband spoke about their experiences and offered some Secret Service trivia that there were prizes for later. Did you know it was established in 1865? Or that if you want to become an agent people will go to your high school and elementary school to see if you really went there and what kind of person you were when you attended?

The agents decided the best way to show what they do when they protect the president is to let the kids try it out themselves. Center Manager Joshua Carlton selected eight children to learn to be agents and protect a "president." Grant, a really great Ohio State student who works for the Secret Service, happily stepped into that role (he even has an awesome presidential wave). The children acting as agents took their roles seriously, keeping away the crowds of onlookers who pushed forward to President Grant, took selfies with him, and touched him. One fan declared, "I'm never washing this hand again!"

It was a hilarious, happy, informative visit that was topped off with two rousing games of dodgeball--Rec Center Staff and Secret Service against the kids. The kids won the first round, but they lost the second round, so it looks like our Secret Service friends will need to return to break that tie.

A heartfelt thanks to Yvonne, Drew, AJ, and Grant for a day filled with laughter, learning, and unforgettable experiences. Thanks also to Starfish Advisory Board Member Jessica Maxwell-Certain of the FBI for orchestrating this remarkable day. And, as always, our gratitude extends to the amazing staff at Sullivant Gardens for their hard work and for including Glenwood and Howard Community Centers in this wonderful event.


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