All 14 Girl Scout Juniors of Troop 1631 from Highlands Ranch recently completed their biggest girl-led project yet! Many of the girls were in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) as babies, or have overcome some sort of medical challenge, so when completing the “Agent of Change” Journey, they wanted to do something to help children and families in the NICU at UCHealth. During the Journey, the girls talked about ways that they could make a difference individually, but with the help of their community, they could make an even bigger impact.
The project started with the intent of helping babies, and the girls invited a labor and delivery nurse to a meeting to talk with them about what happens when a baby is in NICU and what parents might experience. Afterwards, the girls decided they wanted to make NICU Care Kits with the hopes of providing comfort to the parents, so they could focus on caring for their babies, and this nurse served as a consultant through the process. The girls broke into three committees. One group was in charge of researching hospitals, and working with staff to coordinate logistics. Another group researched items a parent might need and made suggestions on what should be included in the kits. The third brainstormed ways to fund this project and obtain the items.
Once they narrowed down logistics, they delegated items for each girl to be responsible and were challenged to go out to the community and let others know what they were doing and ask for donations. Many businesses respectfully declined, but the girls were persistent and 85% of the items in the kits were donated. This included pillows, toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss, shampoo/conditioner, preemie clothes, snack bars, note pads (so parents could journal the experience), and a few other comfort items. The girls even found someone to knit and donate preemie hats. They also chose to use a portion of their cookie money to purchase items they felt they were missing from the kits and still needed. In the end, the girls assembled 20 NICU Care Kits, and had about 30 more partial kits of extras.
In alignment of the “Agent of Change” Journey, not only were the girls able to get their community involved, but they also learned more about the community. For example, some of the snack bars were donated by Don’t Go Nuts, a local company that produces snacks that are completely nut-free, from the moment the ingredients are grown until they are produced in the facility. They learned that this company was founded by a 14-year-old girl, not much older than them. Because she had life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies, she wanted wholesome snacks that you didn’t have to fear were contaminated. This was relatable to the girls, and an opportunity for them to see another girl not much older or different from them making a difference.
The girls began this project in November 2017, but between research and planning, participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, and other troop events, they completed it when the kits were delivered to UCHealth on June 20, 2018. The girls have already received thank you letters from parents who received their kits.
I have a baby in the NICU in Denver. I received the sweetest care package from Junior Girl Scout Troop 1631 out of Highlands Ranch. It was amazingly thoughtful and practical. Thought you should know about the awesome work they’re doing.
I’m also staying at the Ronald McDonald House Aurora while my baby is in the NICU. Every time we see the Girl Scouts on the volunteer list we get excited. They are always great dinners that you can tell the girls were helping to create ( not just adults doing it all). The troops I know about serving us dinner are Troop 2246 and Troop 3687. There was another and I’m sorry I don’t know what troop they were with. They made kabobs that were cooked to perfection.
I just wanted to reach out so you can tell them we really do appreciate all they have done for us during this time.
Annie and JD (and baby Joey)
I received the sweetest care package today from your Girl Scout group and I just wanted to say thanks. I wasn’t able to meet the girls because I was holding my baby, but I was truly blessed by their effort and thoughtfulness. It really made my day. Please let them know that I’m so thankful they were here today, and to keep caring for others.