What did you do for your Gold Award project?
My twin brother has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and beginning in middle school, he experienced a lack of inclusion in school clubs and sports, as well as an overall lack of friendships. I immersed myself in the “disability world,” learning about disabilities, public laws and personal rights, inclusion, community resources, and the numerous stories of children and families. I quickly determined that kids with disabilities meet friends through school, sports, and clubs just like all other children and became an activist for school-based Unified Clubs, Unified Sports, and Unified Elective Courses. In 2013, my brother and I were appointed to our state’s Special Olympic Youth Activation Committee. It was then that I learned about Special Olympics Project UNIFY and identified with Partner Clubs as the key component to building inclusive schools and Unified Friendships – or friendships between kids with and without disabilities. I established Score A Friend, Inc. as a non-profit organization. I worked within my school district and community to build Unified Clubs and Sports Programs. In 2015, I designed the Score A Friend Club Model and web-based Score A Friend Program to activate and support youth leaders everywhere to build Score A Friend Clubs in all schools and advance inclusion throughout the world.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
- Kids with disabilities and their families gained knowledge and skills, as well as shifts in attitude and approach, regarding their right to equal access and opportunities within their schools and communities
- Parents learned how to access other parents for support, resources, and opportunities for advocacy through Score A Friend programs and website
- Kids with disabilities were given opportunities to actively participate with typical peers in school during school lunch, events, and non-core courses
- Kids with disabilities gained opportunities to participate in year-round Unified Sports in their schools & communities
- Kids made friends and experienced Unified Friendships
- Kids with disabilities learned about numerous community resource options and gained skills to access them
- Kids with disabilities gained access to Score A Friend Clubs in their schools
- Kids will have access to Unified Elective Courses in schools
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
My project is sustainable through the Score A Friend, Inc. Non-Profit Organization:
- A Board of Directors is in place, and I am serving as the “Founder/Chief Executive Advisor” – until I am 18 years old and can become the Chief Executive Officer. The Board is committed to supporting and growing the program.
- The Score a Friend Website provides the Score a Friend Program to the world. Clubs will complete an annual online Registration From and Final Report. Clubs can access all program forms, resources, and online store items from the website. All clubs will be posted on the website and be able to connect and share stories through the Score A Friend Facebook Page.
- School-based Score A Friend Clubs at Front Range Christian School and Louisiana State University, as well as many new school clubs, will build and sustain the program in schools and communities throughout the world.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
- Nationally, schools support students and parents to start new clubs within their schools. The Score A Friend Club Web-based Program gives students a quick and easy guide to start a new club. Score A Friend staff is available to provide consultation and support to youth leaders starting new clubs and building inclusion in their schools and communities.
- Globally, youth leaders and adults that support them can access the World Wide Web and access Score A Friend. Over time, I plan to translate Score A Friend materials and make them available to schools worldwide. I plan to work with Special Olympics, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and other global organizations to promote awareness of kids with disabilities issues around the globe and determine a plan to address them, country-by-country, community-by-community, and school-by-school.
What did you learn about yourself?
· Score A Friend is what I want to do for my future career on a global level
- I have the passion and skills to make a difference in the world
- I am an effective advocate and activist for kids with disabilities
- I persevere when I meet obstacles and challenges
- I interact and engage well with people with disabilities, as well as other youth peers and adults
- I am creative and skilled at program design and ideas for clubs for kids
- I have lots more to learn to be an effective advocate and to change the world for kids with disabilities
- Being a Girl Scout has made a powerful and life-long impact on my life – shaping my overall life goals and career plan
- Most importantly, my brother is my best friend and I am proud of him!
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
- At Front Range Christian School, during the 2016-2017 school year, I will have opportunities to grow my leadership skills and build inclusion locally and globally.
- As Score A Friend, Inc. CEO, I have many Score A Friend Program goals that will build my leadership skills, while advancing inclusion in the world.
- Special Olympics will continue to support me to build my leadership skills, while working together to build inclusion in the world
- Educating and inspiring youth around the world will build my leadership skills, while also activating youth leaders to join the unified generation and change the world.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
The Gold Award was a culmination of all I have learned in my 12 years as a Girl Scout. It allowed me to actively pursue, practice, and achieve all aspects of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. It gave me the opportunity to identify my passion and talent, and to experience real-world applications of community service and my leadership skills. The Gold Award was the most important part of my Girl Scout experience and was an honor to achieve. It will always be my greatest first step toward a future focused and committed to leadership, service, and making the world a better place.
**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 firstname.lastname@example.org