What did you do for your Gold Award project?
For my project, I created a fruitful, up-to-date library for the children living at Joshua Station, which is a transitional housing community in Denver that assists families as they make the transition from homelessness to a stable living environment. Currently, there are about 30 families living at Joshua Station, and among these families are more than 70 children. Overall, I collected over 2,900 new and gently used books in donations! I also started hosting a children’s book club there over the summer and continue to host it monthly.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
Before I started my project, I took inventory of the books that Joshua Station already had and what the library space looked like. They originally had around 500 books that were in poor condition and shelves that needed repair. The books were unorganized, and the kids didn’t really utilize the space. Now that my project is finished, the library has about 1,800 new and up-to-date books, as well as high quality shelves and a clean-looking space in the library room. When I go for open library time twice a month, I have multiple kids and families come in to check out books. I also added a reading nook to the front entrance space at Joshua Station, and kids now hang out down there and read books, whereas before they didn’t have a space like that to spend time together and read. I brought extra books to four Seeds of Hope schools in the Denver area, and I received thank-you notes from them saying how the books were in circulation already and that the kids were loving them.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
The main way my project will be sustained is through the addition of brand new books to the Joshua Station library annually through Scholastic. I have received a letter of commitment from the Idyllwilde HOA community in Parker. They hold a Scholastic book fair each spring, and Arelene Jimenez, the committee head who runs it, has agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds each year to new Scholastic books for Joshua Station children and families. Kristi Stuart from Scholastic and June Zelkin from Idyllwilde have helped me in organizing this. I’m excited that new, updated books will continue to be added to Joshua Station to keep the kids engaged and excited about reading!
My project will also be sustained through the continuation of monthly book club. Katy Hurstein, the ThunderRidge High School feeder area Girl Scout director, helped seek out girls age 12 and up who will sign up to lead book club once a month. These girls will be in contact with Julie-Anne Strivings, the volunteer coordinator at Joshua Station who will help with dates and times. Book club will be carried on through these younger girls, and I know that they will make wonderful friendships with the kids at Joshua Station like I did.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
“Imagination Station” achieved a Global/National link by growing and expanding beyond the original site at Joshua Station into four separate sites located in the city of Denver. I collected over 2,900 books in donations through the book drive I held at Tattered Cover Aspen Grove from June 1-July 31 and the Scholastic book fair held at Idyllwilde Community in May. Not all of these books could fit on the shelves at Joshua Station, and I had an overflow of about 1,300 books. With these carefully selected books, I separated them into picture books and chapter books and put them into boxes. I then took these boxes to four Seeds of Hope Schools in the Denver area which were Guardian Angels school, St. Bernadette school, St. Rose school, and St. Therese school. Seeds of Hope schools are inner-city Catholic elementary schools that are non-profit and mostly cater to low-income and impoverished families. The libraries in the schools lack very good quality books, which is mostly what I received in donations, so I was happy to give the extra books to these four schools. Guardian Angels school sent me a handmade letter in the mail that every single child signed and wrote a note of thank you for the books. The librarian at Guardian Angels also sent me pictures of students with the books in use and pictures of books on the shelves. I also got an email from the principal at St. Bernadette that personally thanked me for the books.
What did you learn about yourself?
What I learned about myself through my project is that I can accomplish tremendous tasks if I just try. I found that if I’m open to possibilities, things will work out wonderfully. This project seemed almost impossible when I was first coming up with ideas, and I seriously doubted that I would be able to finish, but I decided to put my fear and uncertainty aside. My project became a reality because I put all my energy, devotion, and determination into it. I chose something I was truly passionate about, and I think that made a huge difference in my attitude. I’ve learned to follow through with what I start and to never pass up opportunities because they seem too daunting or difficult. Something really important that I’ve learned that I will remember my whole life is to ask for help. The only reason my Gold Award was a success was through the help and generosity of other people. It’s truly astounding how willing others are to help if only I would ask for it.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
I’ve found self-confidence through this project because I’ve realized that I am capable of organizing a project so big and following through with it. I’ve made beautiful friendships with the kids at Joshua Station which has kept me passionate. In the future, I will carry the determination and ambition that this project required and take those things with me as I lead other projects. Especially since I want to go into journalism, I will take the skills I learned from this project and apply that to taking on a big story or going out of my comfort zone to bring light to a situation. I want to write for a change, and my project definitely inspired me to believe that I really can make a change.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
My Gold Award journey has been one of the greatest and most impactful experiences of my life! I remember hearing girls talk about their Gold Awards after my troop earned our Silver Award at a ceremony years ago. Ever since then I’ve wanted to earn my Gold Award, and now that I have, I realize how powerful girls can be. Girl Scouts has inspired me to make a difference in the world, and I will carry this determination and passion with me my whole life. I’m thankful for Girl Scouts for helping shape me into the strong young woman I am today. You can definitely earn your Gold Award if you set your mind to it. Make your project a labor of love and choose something that you really care about. Once you begin working, it won’t feel like work and the reward will be priceless!
**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