GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD PROJECT: Sarah Santilli, Erie, “GOT BLOOD?”

Sarah Santilli pic

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I decided to address the need for blood and blood products by starting up ongoing blood drives at a local hospital that was currently not able to sustain a successful drive.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I pursued this project because I have always been interested in the medical field. Currently, I volunteer weekly at North Suburban Medical Center, where they do not currently host blood drives yet there is a great need for blood products to save lives.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My Gold Award made a difference by setting up a donor base for the hospital to continue regular blood drives. There is now a direct link between Bonfils Blood Center and the hospital staff. With the donations received from the first drive, we were able to save 72 lives! It made a difference for Bonfils, the hospital, and the lives saved through our drive.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

The skills I gained during the Gold Award process include taking on leadership, creating a team, and restoring confidence in myself. Through the process of contacting businesses by phone, email, and having face-to-face meetings with team members, I learned that I have the ability to lead a group and have the confidence to do it. I also gained the skill of time management and learning to set goals for myself.

How did you make your project sustainable?

My project will be sustained beyond my involvement indefinitely by creating contacts between the hospital and Bonfils to get back in touch and continue to organize blood drives. After the first drive, we now have a donor base system set up that allows us to contact potential donors.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Not only are these blood drives helping the community and the hospital, but if more blood donations take place locally, that will decrease the need to obtain products from other areas. If Bonfils and other associations such as the Red Cross have an abundance of blood products, then they can better assist other areas both nationally and internationally when there is need.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will always remember the day of the first blood drive when people were donating and I got to converse with many of them about the lives they were saving. The donors being excited about having future blood drives inspired me to continue this project even after receiving the Gold Award. The next blood drive is already scheduled and I am excited at the thought that this will help save more lives. Although I won’t meet those who receive the blood, I am thrilled that I have helped make a difference in their lives.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

Earning my Gold Award has taught me that when I identify a problem or issue, I have the confidence and skills to create a solution. This will help me with future challenges I will face in school and in my career.

Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

This award is an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I was able to make a huge difference. Over all my years as a Girl Scout, from Kindergarten through 11th grade, I now realize that I have developed important skills through earning badges and my Bronze and Silver Awards. I was able to fine tune them and apply them towards a greater cause. The Gold Award helped me to appreciate everything that Girl Scouts has provided me from confidence, to character, to courage.

***IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org