Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Emma Parkhurst, Centennial, “Serving students and families in need at Littleton High School”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I revitalized a clothing closet in the basement of my high school (The Lions Cupboard) and helped create a space where students from my high school and a local elementary school were able to come in and obtain clothing and other necessary items. I started by cleaning out the cupboard and gathering all items that were not usable. I brought home clothing that had stains or spots and washed it. Then, I met with the social worker at a local elementary school in order to involve their population of students and families that could benefit. A clothing drive was carried out in my neighborhood and I acquired many summer clothing and hygiene items such as shorts, swim suits, sunscreen, and towels. Then, in late May of 2017, I hosted an open house in the cupboard for families to come in and shop for clothing for summer.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

Throughout this project, approximately eight families used the cupboard on a regular basis. During the open house that I hosted, two families came in and collected clothing items for the summer. I did not feel that I should inventory what each family took out, so that I could remain sensitive to the families coming in and create the most comfortable shopping experience for them.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

I plan to have The Lions Cupboard become the responsibility of Littleton High School’s NHS program. I have created a brief manual explaining all of the necessary steps in keeping The Lions Cupboard functional. I have spoken with the incoming officers of NHS and they have agreed to uphold this manual and follow all of the steps to keep The Lions Cupboard going and improve it as the years continue.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

There are communities all over the United States that cannot always provide everything that they need for their families. By publishing my project on the National Honor Society website, middle and high school students from all over the country will be able to read exactly what I did to restore and upkeep The Lions Cupboard at my school in the NHS project database. This could help other students start similar programs at their own schools and create a wider national impact.

What did you learn about yourself?

From this project, I learned that to make a change or a difference in the world, you can start in your own community. You do not have to go on an international mission trip, or try to organize a group to send funds to impoverished individuals in Africa. I started in my own high school, and from there I gathered a larger community that included a local elementary school as well as my own neighborhood. I am optimistic that my project will continue to grow over the years and help many more families.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

This project allowed me to become more empathetic, to set goals yet remain flexible, be able to take charge of something, communicate well with adults and my peers, realize that I needed help, lead a group of people to accomplish something, and understand the impact of my own actions. All of these qualities have allowed me to grow as a person and leader, and will help me become the best possible version of myself in the future.

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

I feel that earning the Gold Award was a good way to pull together everything that I have learned in Girl Scouts over the past 12 years.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

My Gold Award helped me become more aware of issues that start in my own community, and allowed me to come up with a plan to help solve them. I was an innovator by involving many National Honor Society and International Baccalaureate students at my high school, and turned my project into an ongoing service at the school.

I also furthered my leadership skills. I was able to really put myself in the shoes of families that would be using The Lions Cupboard. I had to think about their privacy, and what I would want if I were in their place. Empathy is essential for a leader, and helped me grow because leaders have to understand the feelings of those around them, and act for the best of those individuals to create a healthy environment.

Another essential aspect of this project were goals. I knew what I wanted, and set that as a goal for the cupboard. However, things did not go completely as planned and I had to adjust my vision many times. Leaders always need a direction to go in, and something to work towards to accomplish, but flexibility is key because things do not always work out as hoped. A leader also has to be able to take charge when needed, and lead others through the task at hand which is something that I was able to do throughout my project. Being able to get my ideas across is something that I have struggled with at times, but this project allowed me to work on it and better my leadership in that particular aspect. I also had to understand that I needed a lot of help. Mr. Hahn, Mr. Amonson, and all of the wonderful NHS members who volunteered to help me made this project possible. A good leader understands that things do not circulate completely around them, and the help of others is usually essential for success. I also understood the impact of my actions on the families in need, high school, elementary school, NHS, and the future of this project. This project impacted all of those groups, and hopefully set the cupboard up for a long span of success and growth.

All of these things that I learned from completing this project, allowed me to grow as a leader, and will continue to help me develop leadership skills far into my future.

**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