What did you do for your Gold Award project?
In my project, Colorado Book Bank, I collected gently used children’s books from families in a local middle school. The middle school’s chapter of National Honor Society helped collect, sort, count, and box the books I collected. I received even more books from an elementary school after their used book sale, which NJHS helped sort. After taking the books to the food bank I partnered with to give kids a lunch and a book over the summer, I received 1,360 books.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
By counting how many books I donated I determined that I could reach 1,360 kids as each kid got their own lunch and book. While I can’t see how my program affected their education level, I can impact kids right now by giving them a book to read.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
Colorado Book Bank collected books from several different schools. The largest donor was an elementary school who has an existing used book sale that has always searched for a good donor partner to gift their leftover books to each year. I also worked with a local middle school to kick off the project. They are considering the project into another food bank they work with for an existing food drive they already conduct. The elementary school, Peakview, plans to continue donating books to JFS to support the lunchbox program. For the past decade, they have held a spring used book sale with a large number of books left over. The librarian has agreed to donate all leftover children’s book after each book sale to JFS to continue the project. JFS has agreed to pick up the books from the school since that has been the main stumbling block for book donations in the past. Peakview’s librarian also plans to share about the option to donate book sale leftovers to JFS.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
During my project, the chapter of National Honor Society at my school agreed to help move the books to JFS. They also helped me get in touch with the organization as a whole to get my project open on a wider scale. I connected several parts of my project by working with different National Honor Society (NHS) groups. One of the membership requirements of NHS is to provide community service. In support of this work, NHS has a national website that includes a searchable database of project ideas. Club sponsors and student members use the database to find new projects for their club. My project is being listed on that database with a link to my website so other chapters of NHS can create their own Book Bank in their community. In addition, NHS publishes an e-newsletter and have expressed interest in promoting Colorado Book Bank through that publication. Finally, I have created a website to provide supporting documents for other groups who would like to replicate the project.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned a lot about planning and how while it’s challenging, it has to be done. I also learned that leading a team of other people can be very tricky because you have to pull together the best parts of everyone and make sure all the parts you have work together seamlessly. I’ve always known I like doing things, but during my project I learned how important it was to delegate tasks to my team to get everything done. One of the biggest things I learned was that good communication played a key role in my project. It’s important to ask for help because that is the only way people know you need it and it is important to be clear in written emails and phone calls.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
In the future, I want to be able to lead my own team of scientists and study the formation of planets. I need to be able to work with multiple teams to do this and pull together many different resources to achieve top-notch results from my team. Because of my project, I know how to contact different organizations and pull together people who wouldn’t have worked together otherwise.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
I learned so much about myself and how to help others. I wouldn’t have been able to learn the same skills I did if I hadn’t done my Gold Award. I could learn how I could help my community and make a difference beyond what I thought possible.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
I became a go-getter because I saw a problem in my community that I wanted to solve, so I found a way that I could start solving it.
I was an innovator because I found a new way to try to start lowering rates of poverty while including people in my community.
A risk-taker meant being able to start something and talk to people that could have become a lot less popular than it actually did. But I wanted to try my project and it paid off in the end.
I became a leader because I created a team of people I relied on as they simultaneously relied on me. I took their strongest skills and combined them to form an amazing project and amazing team.
**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