Girl Scout Gold Award project: Elizabeth Hoelscher, Aurora, “Girls for girls library and welcome baskets”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I built a library and put together welcome baskets for a shelter (Avanti House) that houses girls 12-17 that have been victims of sex trafficking.  The issue I wanted to address with my project is the negative aftermath of sex trafficking as well as the continued prevalence of sex trafficking in our community. I wanted to improve lives of sex trafficking victims that need distractions and added normalcy to their lives after sex trafficking. While I cannot eliminate trafficking, by doing my project I spread awareness about sex trafficking and its continuing prevalence in our state, country, and world.

I made presentations on my project to raise awareness to the Green Hat Society and teachers at my school which subsequently lead to book donations. I presented to teachers at my school to spread awareness about the problem and help them identify the signs of sex trafficking as they see their students on a daily basis and would most easily be able to identify the problem. In all, I was able to collect 670 books through donations and the purchase of a couple of books I thought were must haves, which are now in the main living space and classroom for the girls, while the adults have one with their books in the office. I also supplied each girl a bookmark in their welcome basket to get them introduced to the library. The welcome baskets also included blankets, journals, coloring books, socks, water bottles, candy, and a couple of other items I felt were important that they have.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award project from the feedback on the books and items in the welcome baskets and also from the persons who heard my presentations.

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

Kristen Harness from Avanti house has agreed to continue to make the welcome baskets for the home and other women they come across.

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

I have e-mailed several similar shelters that do similar work in other states in hopes that they might adopt the same projects.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned about my ability to be independent and take charge. From this project, I learned how to bear ALL of the responsibilities for my work. From organizing donation pick-ups and moving in the library and welcome bags, I learned a lot about myself, including my drive and passion for a cause I believe in.

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

Earning my Gold Award will make me more confident in being a leader as well as doing large projects and tasks on my own.

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

The Gold Award allowed me to finish off my 12 years of Girl Scouting with one last impactful project that made a change.

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

This helped me become a better leader as I have exposed myself to situations that require independence.

**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