What did you do for your Gold Award project?
Throughout my time in elementary and middle school, I observed two different circumstances within the student body: kids that over pack for lunch and have leftovers, and kids that are left feeling hungry as they don’t have access to enough food. My project matched kids’ leftover food with those who lacked an adequate amount of food. I placed bins in Creekside Elementary School (677 students) and Liberty Middle School (1,121 students) for kids to donate their extra non-perishable, sealed food to support the fight against hunger in our community. After the food was collected from each school, it was transported by my team to the food bank Hope Starts Here where it was later distributed to families that live in the area that are in need.
Additionally, my project included educating students at Creekside and Liberty about hunger in Colorado and explaining to them what they can do to combat the crisis. Students became not only aware of the hunger around them, but now that they are equipped with the knowledge of what they can do, they can help.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
I measured the impact of my project with a survey that was given to the fourth and fifth graders at Creekside Elementary School. My survey demonstrated that the students obtained knowledge about local food banks and what they can do to help those in need, and they now talk about hunger with their families. According to my survey, 7.2% more people had a good discussion with their parent(s), 26.9% more people were aware that others around them may not have enough food, and 53.2% more people are aware that there is a food bank nearby Creekside.
Another way that I measured my project’s impact was by counting the amount of food that was donated at Creekside. In total, the students donated over 1,900 snacks to families at the food bank Hope Starts Here. At Liberty, there were also a lot of snacks that were collected, but since my project was not done over just one week but is an ongoing process, I didn’t count the food at Liberty.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
My project will be sustained at Liberty Middle School and Creekside Elementary School. I created a SignUp Genius in which the members of Grandview High School’s NHS will volunteer once a month to collect the food from each school. One bin was left at Creekside, while 10+ bins were left at Liberty. To ensure that the kids are frequently informed, flyers will be left on the walls at both schools to remind the kids that they can always donate their food. I also was able to acquire a letter of commitment from both Liberty Middle School and Creekside Elementary school ensuring that my project will be sustained.
I believe that this program can be implemented at any school. It is better to collect food at a school with less of a free and reduced student population, so people actually have a surplus of food to give and they can learn about hunger needs in their area. However, there are always going to be people who are willing to give food and people who are in need of food.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
My project has a global/national connection because I made a website that can be viewed by people locally and globally. This website was made so that if someone wanted to replicate my project at their school or a school near them, they would be successful. I included important resources that were pertinent to the success of my project: the steps that I took to accomplish my project, flyers and a brochure that I made that helped to inform the entire school, drafts of emails that I sent to the principals of the schools that I worked with to introduce my project, etc. I sent the URL of my website (gold-award-website-2.webnode.com) to parents at Creekside Elementary School, parents at Liberty Middle School, and people at the food bank to offer them the directions needed to implement this at another school.
What did you learn about yourself?
My project taught me various leadership skills, such as perseverance. Specifically, I learned that in order to get into contact with someone and get something done, you must persist and have patience. When I was trying to get into contact with the head of the food bank Hope Starts Here, I emailed them and called them constantly, but no one ever answered. As I was tempted to go to the food bank and approach the employees face-to-face, I thought that I would give them a little more time to get back to me. After that still didn’t work, I sent a final email, and someone finally got back to me. From then on she was quick to respond and very helpful. I learned that I must not give up when something isn’t going right, and sometimes, if you want something to be done quickly, you must approach them face-to-face.
Another skill that I learned about myself, is that when you are managing a project, you must stay on top of tasks, and have a good work ethic. Throughout my project, principals and teachers constantly said that I was always on top of things. If I met with a principal and we decided that I was going to draft an email to send to teachers, I would draft it that night or as soon as I could. This taught me that people appreciate it when you keep your word and follow through with what you had planned on doing.
As I worked with both Cub Club at Creekside Elementary School and NJHS at Liberty Middle School, I was able to improve my leadership skills. I learned that in order for kids to listen to you, you have to make a connection. Therefore, I connected with the students in Cub Club and NJHS while we made posters, and they were able to get engaged in participating in my project.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Earning my Gold Award will impact my future because it will open new and exciting doors. For instance, as colleges and business are aware of the work that I accomplished and the benefits that I contributed to society, I will be more likely to be accepted into a college or a job position. My Gold Award project also exposed me to my love of volunteering. In my future, I am excited to pursue other service projects and help other service organizations.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
My Girl Scout Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it taught me numerous life lessons that I will carry throughout the rest of my life. While other aspects of Girl Scouts that I participated in, including the Bronze and Silver Awards and other projects with my troop, taught me lessons such as teamwork since I worked with my troop, my Gold Award forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me what was required to work individually.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
My Gold Award project helped me to become a better risk-taker. Before this project I was intimidated by reaching out and talking to adults. Through this project, I was forced to communicate with principals, employees of the food bank, and other people through emailing, calling and talking face-to-face. I am now more comfortable with reaching out to people and engaging in conversation in a formal manner.
**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.