Most children are uninterested in reading, so they lack the understanding of why reading is important. They do not like reading because they lack support and encouragement to read. Because of this, I created a program at the Boys and Girls Club that is a five-session literacy program to promote a positive reading environment by teaching books with good values and morals and then teaching the children about different authors and poets to show new ways to express themselves. I brought in several volunteers to create a small volunteer to child ratio, so children could get the attention they need to work on their reading skills. I also noticed that they do not like to read because it lacks physical activity, so I made hands-on activities to keep the children engaged and active. Afterwards, I created reading tool boxes that consist of 15 to 20 books and reusable activities that can be used alongside them. Through a book drive, I was able to collect more than 400 books that allowed me to make 22 tool boxes that were passed out to organizations that serve at risk children around Colorado. By encouraging a positive reading environment at an early age, children will develop a lifelong love for learning which will cause a positive impact in their future.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
I created a survey the children filled out before and after the five-session program to get a sense of how they feel about reading. Overall, there was a 45% increase for the statement “Reading is Important” and an 18% increase for the question “Do I learn new things in my books?” Also, I interviewed the teachers from the Boys and Girls Club and they were very happy on how the program turned out. At that moment was when I felt like my project was coming together. I knew I had made a difference in a child’s life and that they learned ideas that will help them in the future. Seeing these results gave me motivation to write a program manual with all the activities so other children can be impacted as well.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
The children of Godsman Elementary School brought home several projects that are reminders for the children to embrace themselves and show their best selves and to motivate them to read and write more. My school’s National Honor Society will continue my program using my step by step instruction manual in my school district so over one hundred children each year can experience this program.
I created 22 tool boxes that had 15 to 20 books inside of them with several comprehension activities from my five-session program to understand books better and gain excitement from them. They allow children who were unable to experience my five-session program to be able to try my activities and be inspired by them.
My five-session program and book tool boxes can be accessed on my website: www.thelittlechildrenwhocould.weebly.com
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
Reading affects children everywhere. There are several reasons why children do not take reading seriously, which is why it is important to look at each reason and find a solution to fix it. I shared my project to several national organizations such as Reach Out and Read, National Honor Society, and the Boys and Girls Club. They can do my program anywhere and affect children around the nation. I put all of the materials and templates on a website that organizations could easily access to make the program successful and efficient.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned to embrace my creativity. Before my project, I was afraid to share my ideas because I believed no one would like them. However, having free reins on this project let me create whatever I wanted to promote reading literacy and I became very open with promoting ideas. I enjoyed bouncing off ideas with other people and receiving constructive criticism because it helped my ideas be more successful. I gained critical thinking skills that allowed me to create new and innovative ideas that made my project more appealing.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Working on this project helped increase my self-confidence. While working on this project, I began to branch out more in my community. As a result of this increase, I decided to apply for more leadership positions at my school. I became a board member for National Honor Society and Big Sisters and through these organizations, I am able to promote the values of this project to a bigger audience. My Gold Award will always remind me that I take action and am able to create a better community.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
The Gold Award was a perfect way to show my abilities and strengths that I developed through my years in Girl Scouts. Through Girl Scouts, I was able to create a stronger version of myself that pushed me to make my voice heard. Girls in a safe space gain confidence in themselves and they allow others to see their personalities and their abilities and I think that the Gold Award is a perfect way to challenge a girl in that way. I gained knowledge and skills that will help me accomplish with any of my future endeavors.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Earning my Gold Award helped me become an innovator. I had to come up with new ways to keep children engaged and involved while reading and writing. I talked to several literacy aides and teachers to learn more how children focus and with their help I was able to create an interactive project. I enjoyed bouncing off ideas with other people and receiving constructive criticism because it helped my ideas be more successful. I gained critical thinking skills that allowed me to create new and innovative ideas that made my project more appealing.
**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.