Tag Archives: Grandview High School

Silver Award Girl Scouts Fight to End “Period Poverty”

Silver Award Girl Scouts Lauren C. and Annaliese A. of Troop 64626 in Aurora are fighting “period poverty” in their community by securing a donation of more than 75,000 sanitary pads. Always delivered the pads to Liberty Middle School in Aurora on Friday, March 5, 2021. The Girl Scouts also provided pad-only dispensers for every girls’ restroom in the school. The girls earned $1,200 to purchase six dispensers, one for each restroom. After purchasing the dispensers, the girls realized they wanted to make an even bigger impact and contacted Always. The company agreed to donate more than 75,000 pads for the dispensers! “We noticed that many students didn’t have access to period products and were too embarrassed to ask the nurse for a pad (which nobody should be embarrassed about, but there has been a generational stigma surrounding menstruation),” wrote Lauren.

Through this project which Lauren and Annaliese completed last year, they earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest honor for Girl Scouts in middle school. The girls are now students at Grandview High School. To continue to spread the word about the fight to end period poverty, the girls have also partnered with Period Kits. The nonprofit organization in Denver provides period supplies to those experiencing homelessness.

Thank you to CBS4/KCNC-TV in Denver for sharing this story. Watch it here.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Katelyn Miller, Centennial, Project Homefront 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I researched and learned about the homeless veteran population to create a website full of information on this population. This website included resources on the population, resources for the population, as well as interviews with veterans (both homeless and not). I also created a website and lesson plan for the juniors and seniors at Grandview High School. This lesson plan included the video and a brochure on the importance of learning about this population as well as researching and educating themselves on issues. My website link is: www.projecthomefront.wix.com/homeless-vets

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

Measurement of my project can be seen through the analytic data of seeing the amount of people who’ve seen and participated with my website, as well as looking at the video that I gave the upperclassmen. The video measurement is found through more analytic data, by looking at the views of the video, and the interest by the upperclassmen in wanting to continue their education on this topic and others. They learned about the extremely difficult transition that veterans go through. And while the issue of the transition to civilian life can’t be solved without building an organization or through legislation, with the public knowing and understanding the difficulty, strides can be made. As people learn about an issue and the root cause of an issue, then the government or organizations have no excuse for not knowing why solutions aren’t working or how to approach the problem. Education on the population and on how important educating yourself on an issue is when you want to help solve that problem.

I also measured the impact of my project by looking at the amount of views my website gets, my YouTube video gets, how many shares my Facebook post gets, and how many donations of food and clothing items I receive. My website has its own analytics part to the webpage, so I can see how many people have viewed it and interacted with it. As of January 15, 2021,   my website has been viewed by 94 people from all over the country and my YouTube video has 32 views. Through the analytics for the website, I can see how the viewers got to my website and many went due to having the direct link, some came through the Girl Scout Gold Award blog post I wrote, and all the rest came through other ways. This could be through searching for it or getting the link through my YouTube link. As for donations,  as of January 4, I have donations of food and clothing items coming in. People have purchased from the Amazon wishlist link I set up and also through just buying items and giving them to me to give to the VOACO (Volunteers of America Colorado) location.

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

I have sustained my Gold Award project, Project Homefront, by getting signed letters of commitment from the teachers through Grandview High School saying that they will show my lesson plan and video to their students next year. This continuation commitment will allow for more students to learn about the homeless veteran population and learn about how important it is to educate themselves. Both these topics are the main issue I address in my Gold Award project and therefore my project will be sustained. As a part of my website, I included a comment section that will allow for people to add new resources and stories as they came across my website. The website will also be a sustainable part of my website as it is on the internet for years to come.

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

To achieve my national-global connection, I sent emails to fourteen VOA contacts from around the nation. I sent them my website and asked if they would link it to their local VOA website. This way if anyone in their area was on their website was searching for information on homeless veterans they would have the opportunity to click on my website to get some information. In my email I made sure to say that if I had reached the wrong person to ask for this favor to then email me back who would be the correct person to contact. I listed my website in the email and said that even though the project was aimed for people in the Denver Metro area that if people in their area wanted to add to the website then they could do so through the comment section at the bottom of the website. The VOA contacts I emailed were: VOA Los Angeles, VOA Sacramento, VOA Northern California, VOA Northern Nevada, VOA Carolina, VOA Florida, VOA Indiana, VOA Michigan, VOA Montana, VOA Ohio, VOA Tennessee, VOA Texas, and  VOA West Virginia. All these contacts specifically offered a  “Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program” which is why I singled them out as they were connected to the homeless veteran population like I and my project were.

Another national link for my Gold Award project, Project Homefront, is my website’s national outreach. From the analytics given by my website I am able to see that people all over America have seen and interacted with my website. While my project stems from the growing Colorado homeless veteran population, many of the resources and topics that the veterans mention apply to the homeless veteran population from every part of America. Based on the map analytic I can see that my website has been seen in 11 different states, including Colorado. This wide reach shows the national link that Project Homefront has.

In another attempt to add to the national link and appeal to people from all over the nation I added informational instructions on one of my padlets on my website. This padlet gave resources and information on homeless Veterans for the different locations around Colorado. And on the first area of the padlet, I included some instructions for anyone who wanted to find out about the homeless veteran population in their own area. I wanted to make sure that if people from out of state came across my website that they would be able to find out information on the veterans in their area. On this informational list, I included key terms and phrases for people to put into their search engine. I told them to search things such as: Homeless Veterans _____ (your area), Volunteers of America _____ (your city/location)– then click on homeless veterans tab, and veteran percentage of population in ____ (your area) then factor in the homeless number. All these searches would lead people to links and resources that would give them information on their own local homeless veteran population.

What did you learn about yourself?

What I learned about myself during this experience is that I can push through anything, that being able to adapt is incredibly important, and how to express my thoughts. I can remember how I was just getting started on my Gold Award project, Project Homefront, when we were told that we were no longer going to school and we were to stay in our homes. I was depending on the social aspect of connecting with people for every part of my project. Having to stay inside and not coming in close contact with anyone really halted my plans. However, even with this large shift in general life I found a way to move through it. I no longer could physically interview and meet people, so instead I set up Zoom meetings and phone calls. I learned the best way to search for information through the internet. I pushed through the restrictions. These changes even pushed me to do something I never thought that I would have to do: create a website. No one in my family had done anything similar, so I was truly on my own, but this didn’t scare me. In fact it made every small victory an amazing accomplishment in my mind. I can still remember the first time that I added a link and it worked, the first time I added a text box, figured out how to upload stories and pictures. Working through a platform I had never used before I found the successes in a time when I could have rolled over and quit. Throughout COVID-19, I also learned how important adaptation is.

With refusing to give up on the homeless veteran population, I found how success isn’t how you finish, but how you adapt with the changes. With every struggle and obstacle comes a chance to become stronger. I learned that the importance of others growth and success would force me to change and adapt more than any personal reason. The idea that without my project people wouldn’t know about the rising homeless Veteran population in Colorado, that these Veterans in need could possibly walk into a food bank and walk out just as empty handed as they walked in made me change any doubts into motivation. Throughout the summer of COVID-19, overpriced toilet paper, and shelter in place orders, I worked to possibly be able to provide a better day for one veteran or Grandview High School student. I learned that I could work for hours and just have one success and that would be a better feeling than any “A” that I had received on any test. I learned what drives me: the want to bring a better day, hour, minute, or second to someone who needs it. By working on Project Homefront, I found that anything I set my mind to I could accomplish. And by being able to adapt to the changing world around me I found what drives me.

Additionally, I learned how to use my voice to express my thoughts. With everything moved online, I wrote so many emails that I couldn’t even count them on both hands. With each email my professionalism and articulation of thoughts grew. I learned how to balance respect and urgency in my emails and communication. Being able to convey the importance of the need that the homeless veteran population took a while. I learned what were the correct words when speaking about the population as well as what are the most important statistics to include to get the recipients attention. I also learned the best way to inform the public on the population. When creating a website for the general population I had to appeal to all ages. This meant increasing the font size for those with eyes that don’t read as well, but also being engaging for audiences with a shorter attention span. In making sure that I communicate all the important information, I found new ways to group resources and statistics. This made the website much easier to understand and navigate. I also learned how to pass on information to upperclassmen high school students by showing information in an appealing fashion. When I created a script for my video/documentary, I knew I needed to keep my target audience in mind. They are 16 to 18-year-olds who are obsessed with the short and sweet life social media. In knowing this and keeping it in mind, I was able to create a video that would keep them engaged while giving them the information that I wanted them to know. This took many rewrites, but also took talking to an outside perspective. Learning that my idea was too structured and that students would not want to sit through an hour long documentary, so to choose the most important information for the students to know. All of these experiences that I had through making my project will set me up for success for the future communications I will have.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact my future because it has shown me how much I can do if I just put my mind to it. This year showed no mercy with me starting my project with the assumption that I could learn about this population through volunteering and speaking in-person with the veterans, but COVID-19 created an obstacle no one was expecting. Even though it meant that my project became confined to my computer, I pushed through and was able to help the homeless veteran population get the recognition they deserve and teach the students the importance of their education. I will continue to use the perseverance and hard work that got me through my Gold Award to help me through whatever I do in my future.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout career because it was a way for me to independently create a change and a better world. Throughout Girl Scouts, I’ve learned how important it is to be a person that creates the world better. Even if it is in a small way such as leaving a location better than you found it or giving up my seat to an elderly person; with my Gold Award I was able to create a change on a larger scale. Not only could my impact be seen in my target audience, but it could also be seen throughout my community. Seeing this outcome really not only changed the way I view my years of community service through Girl Scouts, but it has changed my view on the world I will soon join as I continue my academic education as well as my education on the people in need around me.

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 a go-getter as I strived to change the view on education on issues as well as the perception of a population. Thinking of the homeless veteran population as “homeless” brings the connotation of drug addicts, alcoholics, and people living in the bottom of society, yet what these veterans truly are is “unhoused”. Through my Gold Award, I was able to change my view and my website readers’ view on this population. This is something that I could have only discovered in myself through choosing to complete my Gold Award. By learning more about this population and discovering that these people who have served our country so bravely and so selflessly are experiencing and fell victim to homelessness, they are unhoused. By changing this simple word we change the view we have on this population: if they are unhoused then they can be helped by being given shelter, but if they are homeless then they are beyond the help of the rest of the population. By bringing this change of thought and perception to my target audience I was also able to bring up the topic of education. That even though social media provides a connection to friends and family around the globe that might have been out of reach in other generations, it is still the job of the people and of the young students to educate themselves properly on issues. The character limit on social media sites is too small to be able to provide the full story on any situation, and the sooner students learn that the sooner problems they want to solve can be solved. The emotion-filled words that show up on Facebook and Instagram also come with an algorithm that shows the interests of the person on the other end of the phone. The phenomenon of interest bias is built into every social media platform and to believe that this isn’t true just adds another issue to solve.

Both these ideas were brought forth through my Gold Award project: Project Homefront. These nuances brought a level of confidence and work ethic that I had never had to use before. My Gold Award brought to life the fire to convince people to have confidence in themselves without losing their confidence in others, so that we can face the issues that surround us starting with the veteran population who are experiencing homelessness. And this go-getter attitude will influence my life till I take my last breath.

**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.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Safiya Dhunna, Aurora, “The E-Waste Recycling Exposé”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The E-Recycling Exposé addresses the lack of education for fourth and fifth graders on the importance of e-recycling. Many people have heard of paper, plastic, or glass recycling. But, electronics, as common as they are in our society, are not frequently recycled. They can be harmful to our environment, damaging our water and land with dangerous metals. It struck me as surprising when I found out that only 20% of our electronics are recycled, leaving the rest to be put into the trash and landfills, ultimately polluting our Earth. This fact grew even more shocking to me when I found that paper and plastic products, which are just as important as technology, are recycled more than twice as much as electronics. In fact, in 2017, 46.9% of paper products had been recycled in the United States (epa.gov). These facts spurred me to take action with my Gold Award Project, knowing I could make a difference.

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

My audience learned to answer the following questions:

  • What percentage of electronics are currently recycled?
  • Where can you drop off an electronic to recycle?
  • What is the first step in recycling an electronic
  • What type of electronic cannot be recycled?
  • What is the most commonly recycled electronic?
  • What is the most common metal that comes out of recycled electronics?
  • If I recycle a million cell phones, how many pounds of copper will be retrieved?
  • Is it ILLEGAL to put electronics in the landfill in Colorado?
  • What country produces the most electronic waste?
  • What country produces the least electronic waste?

My audience also learned the full cycle of recycling an electron. From taking is to be recycled to having the recycled  electronics be made into new technology.

I measured my impact by creating a quiz game, also known as a Kahoot, as well as a pre and post curriculum survey. These three things all had measurable reports to give me the data in my project.

My impact was measured in the beginning,middle and end of my Gold Award, the E-Recycling Exposé. The pre survey was given before any information. The Kahoot was given while I was teaching the students, and the post survey was given at the end. All three things measured how much the students learned throughout the entire project.

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

I have a signed Letter of Commitment from Fox Elementary signed by the fourth grade team/teacher, Ms. Sevy.  In this Letter of Commitment, it states that my e-recycling curriculum will be integrated into the STEM program at the elementary schools that I presented at. This is so that kids in the future years will continue to learn about the important topic of e-recycling. The teachers I talked to were especially interested in using my informational video and my Kahoot game in the future.

With Kyklos, they work on teaching local schools and businesses about environmental sustainability, in Santiago, Chile. They are also partnered with BlueStar Recyclers to learn more about E-recycling. Kyklos is planning to use parts of my curriculum to further their material in teaching about E-recycling.  (https://create.kahoot.it/share/tech-recycling/76a37d2e-a7f3-4ebc-beb8-e14086e160a2).

All the teachers had access to my materials when I shared them through Google Drive or email. Both of these platforms worked well across the board. The video I created was embedded in the PowerPoint I created, and the captions are on that video as well. So, all the materials needed to teach my curriculum are easily accessible. My tools did a really great job of educating the kids while keeping them excited about learning as well.

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

The E-Waste Recycling Exposé’s global link was through a company called Kyklos. The main company I worked with, BlueStar Recyclers works with Kyklos in Santiago, Chile. This company creates programs based on environmental sustainability for local schools and businesses in Santiago, Chile. The informational video I created, I put Spanish captions on it and sent it to Kyklos to use for part of their program. I contacted Kyklos, their co-founder Sebastián Herceg, twice during my Gold Award process. I was supposed to meet their founder in-person since they partner with  a company that I worked with in Denver (BlueStar Recyclers) but unfortunately this was right when COVID-19 hit so it was unable to happen. I did, however, email back and forth with them when I had created my video. When I had first sent my video to Kyklos, their response was great. “Tremendo!” They said.  It made me happy to know that this of course translates to tremendous. Sebastian had a couple of editing marks for me which I then fixed. I also added Spanish captions onto the video which was not easy. These captions can be viewed by clicking the “cc” button on my video which is linked above. I had to translate my video and then make permanent captions on the video which was on my private Youtube channel. I made these changes and then I sent the video on its way to Chile.

Later on, in my E-Recycling Exposé experience, I finished the other parts of my curriculum. After this step, I sent my second email to Kyklos. I asked them if they wanted the rest of my curriculum since they already had my educational video. Their co-founder emailed back and said that I should send it over and that they would work on getting it translated into Spanish. I was extremely happy when this happened. I have a bilingual Gold Award. In two different parts of the globe. Although the curriculum here in Colorado and in Chile, it serves the same purpose. Kyklos educates a lot of local schools about recycling so I am hoping that it will help as many boys and girls there learn about E-recycling.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am good at teaching elementary school kids and teaching in general because my project was curriculum-based and involved a lot of teaching. I never really taught before this.  I had presented projects and PowerPoints, but it was different for me to have to pioneer an elementary school curriculum and showcase it to kids who had never seen it before. I really got into the whole teaching aspect. I was able to talk to the kids and then you know, stop asking questions and discuss things with them that either they were confused about or simply curious about. I even had one of the teachers whose class you are presenting to comment to me that she wanted me to come back and teach her other class because I was such a good teacher. This was something that really surprised me because I had never taught before. I enjoyed teaching and getting to know the students. Doing this part of my Gold Award made me think that I could use the skill in the future.

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

I think earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because of the skills it has given me. I had gained a lot of confidence in myself as a leader, which is a great way to go into college next year, in my opinion. I also have learned how to create a support system, and be creative in ways I never thought I would learn how to do. These are all skills I can use in the future. Doing this project has allowed me to prepare myself for any future career I might be interested in. I know that with these skills I can handle any workload or challenge that comes my way.

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

I feel like the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it allowed me to use all my skills I have learned for one big project. I was able to have something to wrap up my ten years as a Girl Scout and that feeling was incredible.

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 a G.I.R.L. in a lot of ways but the letter that defines me the most is G, go-getter. I hit a lot of walls when I was initially starting my project and it took me a while to find an idea. But I did not give up, I was determined to do my Gold Award. Throughout the project journey, there were a lot of times when it got hard or challenging. I learned to take a break and then regain my motivation. This helped me gain passion and confidence while doing my Gold Award, and through that I learned how to be innovative by creating my own curriculum, a risk-taker by working with companies I had never worked with before and of course, a leader.

**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.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Abigail Stuart, Aurora, “One for me, one for you”

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 highestawards@gscolorado.org

 

Gold Award Girl Scout: Mariam Dhunna, Aurora, “The Pen Pal Program”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award comprises two parts: the Pen Pal Program and a social skills curriculum. The Pen Pal Program is designed to address social isolation in youth, aged 11 to 19, who have epilepsy. The Pen Pal Program addresses this issue by providing an opportunity for these youth to connect with someone who may share similar experiences or perspectives. Communicating through letter writing, emailing, or texting provides a safe opportunity to develop important social skills, such as the ability to reach out and make a connection with a new person. Learning how to express one’s thoughts and feelings, and reaching out to others for friendship are social skills that are essential to feeling content and confident in life.

The social skills curriculum focuses on learning how to feel confident in establishing a relationship. The primary emphasis is mastering how to greet others, initiating and maintaining a conversation, and negotiating difficult social situations.

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

I measured the impact on my target audience by sending a closing survey to evaluate the positive and negative effects of the program. I also asked for statements from some of the pen pal participants. One of the participants, Amelia, sent me a statement detailing how the Pen Pal Program has impacted her. Through her experience, she has been able to come out of her comfort zone, and make a new friend who understands the difficulties of living with epilepsy. Her pen pal, Bailey, has also expressed that her friendship with Amelia is off to a strong start, as they “have reached out to each other and have each other’s email, phone number, and even Snapchat!”

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

The Pen Pal Program and social skills curriculum will be sustained beyond my involvement by the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado’s Youth Council and my foundation liaison, Marcee Aude. One or two Youth Council members will be in charge of continuing the Pen Pal Program and another one to two members will be continuing the social skills curriculum. Marcee Aude will be overseeing it all to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. I have obtained a signed letter of commitment from Marcee. In the letter Marcee stated, “This is a Letter of Commitment that the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado and the Youth Council commits to sustain the Pen Pal Program.”

Marcee and the Youth Council have committed to continuing by “sustain[ing], grow[ing] and expand[ing] the program to help so many more youth with epilepsy who may be feeling isolated and struggling with their diagnosis.”

My project will continue to have an impact after my involvement because the social skills curriculum will continue to be taught and new pen pal pairings will be made.

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

Social isolation in epileptic youth is not an issue unique to youth in Colorado, it is a domestic and international issue. In order to address this, the Pen Pal Program is expanding to recruit pen pals from not only Colorado, but also Wyoming, Illinois, Iowa, the National branch of the Epilepsy Foundation, and New Delhi, India. This will be achieved through my partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, the Wyoming Epilepsy Organizations (the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities and the Wyoming Neurologic Associates), the Indian Epilepsy Association (based in New Delhi), and the Epilepsy Foundation of Chicago. Through these partnerships, participants will gain the opportunity to meet people similar to them from different corners of the globe.

What did you learn about yourself?

From this project, I have learned the importance of  maintaining patience and perseverance. I have also learned how to be a stronger leader. Initially, I was not receiving the  number of participants that I had expected, so I collaborated with my team at the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado and brainstormed new ways to raise participation levels. I learned to listen and take feedback from those people who had expertise regarding epilepsy and marketing. It is important to be creative and flexible when planned solutions do not work out, because objectives still need to be achieved. It is essential to be patient and focused on the end goal because it is not guaranteed results will occur as quickly as anticipated, or at all. Through the process of developing this program, I have learned how to lead and collaborate with a diverse group of people. I have worked with Marcee as well as the Epilepsy Foundation Youth Council. The Youth Council is diverse and represents varying ages and cognitive abilities. Some of them have epilepsy; and some of them are like me, and have a connection to epilepsy, such as, through a sibling or parent with epilepsy.

Each  pen pal relationships is different. Because of this, I needed to determine how to  adapt the program to suit each pair’s unique needs. One example of this was when there was a non-epileptic brother, Ty, who was paired with an epileptic youth, Dominic. After being paired, Ty’s mother reached out to me to say that Ty would like to be paired with another non-epileptic youth, as he feels like a caregiver in this role with his epileptic brother at home. Ty and his mother felt that his pen pal partnership with Dominic would be a similar dynamic. I fixed this situation by expanding the pen pal partnership to include Ty’s younger brother, who has epilepsy, Nolan. Ty is assisting Nolan in being a pen pal to Dominic. As the Pen Pal Program expands, Ty will receive another pen pal, who will be a better match.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because I have developed leadership skills that I will be able to apply to various aspects of my life. From my experiences during the development of my Gold Award, I now know what makes a good leader. A good leader is one who listens to his or her peers, applies the feedback given, and is able to work in a collaborative environment. Good leaders need to be able to recognize that they do not know everything, and that there may be other people who have more knowledge in certain areas. In the future, I will be a better leader because of the skills I have gained from developing this program. Some of the skills I have gained are the ability to “think on my feet,” the importance of collaboration, and the ability to problem solve with a team quickly and efficiently.

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

The Gold Award was undoubtedly an important part of my Girl Scout experience. It taught me many valuable skills such as how to lead a diverse group and how to adapt to different situations quickly. Developing my Gold Award also provided me with experiences I would have not had otherwise. I would not have had the opportunity to work with the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado and provide these youth with the ability to create friendships for the future. I feel that through developing my Gold Award, I was able to use all the skills I have developed throughout my years in Girl Scouting.

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 a leader and an innovator. It helped me become a leader because I discovered the traits that make a  good leader as well as how to lead a diverse group of people. Good leaders listen to their peers, apply the feedback given, and work in a collaborative manner. Strong leaders recognize that they do not know everything, and can defer to others with more knowledge and experience when necessary.

Earning my Gold Award helped me to become an innovator because when things did not go as planned, I had to collaborate with my team to quickly devise a solution. I became an innovator because developing The Pen Pal Program was a unique means of addressing social isolation in epileptic youth.

**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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Sami Stuart, Aurora, “Phoebe Lester Memorial Event”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

My project, the Phoebe Lester Memorial Event, aims at educating my local community, especially my school about the dangers of drinking and driving. Inspired by the loss of my friend and cheer teammate by a drunk driver, my event was a three-part effort against drunk driving. It spread awareness to the dangers of drunk and impaired driving, educated on ways to prevent further accidents from happening, and gave back to people impacted by drunk driving crashes, and car accidents in general, with a winter drunk driving themed blood drive. I felt, in holding the event at my high school, that change starts with youth, and in order to prevent future drunk driving accidents from happening, it must be stopped at a young age.

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

People in my community, most importantly, the youth, learned the importance of giving back to the community through organ and blood donation, and the dangers of driving impaired. Many people understood the importance of blood donation and were first time donors for my project; more than 126 lives were saved by the blood donation, and many people were eager to donate and happy to help. I also heard people sharing about their experiences and impressions of the videos and booths that they attended, and how impactful they were.

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

Because I am a junior in high school, I am still able to facilitate and continue the project with my school until after I leave. However, after high school, I plan to implement the project into a yearly event put on by my school’s National Honors Society (NHS). It will take place in March, combined with their already-established blood drive, but themed with drunk driving. The booths and giveaways will be added to the blood drive. The National Honor Society (NHS) sponsors have already signed a letter of commitment, agreeing to implement and continue my project.

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

Drunk driving is both a national and international issue. While my project will not put an end to drunk driving around the globe, I hope and believe this project can and will save lives not only in my community, but hopefully in other areas as well. It starts with one and saving one person could save the future. I used my ideas and steps from my project to make a website that hopefully reaches others across the world. I sent the website to the organizations that took part in my event, inspiring them to take initiative in preventing drunk driving in their own community.

What did you learn about yourself?

Out of the entire project, the most important thing I learned about myself is that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. Before the Gold Award, I was never really confident in myself or my abilities. However, after completing an arduous project with blood, sweat, and tears and now saying that I saved and helped others save more than 120 lives, I am proud of myself and more confident than ever.

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

Earning the Gold Award will impact me in the future because I will take everything that comes with this award with me through life. The invaluable skills I’ve learned and improved through my project such as problem solving, leadership, time management, confidence, and independence will help me in anything that I choose to do. This award is also an incredible honor that will show my future employers and colleges what I am capable of, and the value I could add to any other employer or student body.

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

Earning the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I have been involved in Girl Scouts since I was in kindergarten, and really wanted to realize the highest achievement for a Girl Scout. The Gold Award really represents the amount of time and effort I’ve put into Girl Scouts to get to this point. I am really glad I was able to use the prior skills Girl Scouts has taught me and incorporate and show it in my Gold Award project.

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

I grew immensely as a leader during my project. As I was the lead in my project, I learned how to effectively manage more than 30 people on my team and communicated with close to 100. Before this event, I preferred to have others direct group projects, where I would act as more of a contributor. Now, I have the confidence and abilities to lead others instead of following them.

I have also become a go-getter through my project. I realized that if you really want something done, you have to make it happen… you can’t wait for someone or something else to get it done for you. For example, I knew I wanted to have all the organizations attend my event (MADD, Donor Alliance, Uber, and Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank), so to ensure that outcome, I sent multiple emails and texts to engage and remind. In cases where organizations were either unresponsive or less engaged, I called or met with them directly and overcame any issues they identified.

**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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Peyton Dailey, Centennial, “Spanish for One, Spanish for All”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue addressed by my project was unequal opportunity within my school for every student to learn Spanish. While traditional classroom style Spanish is offered, for differently abled students, there are not designated classrooms or hired staff to be able to offer these students the same opportunity to learn. My project created a coalition between Spanish Honor Society students and the ILC program (Independent Learning Communities), in order to provide ILC students the opportunity to learn Spanish within a one-on-one setting, and to allow Spanish Honor Society students the opportunity to share their accumulated knowledge. The root cause of this issue was a lack of human resources, specifically teachers, who have the time in their schedules to give ILC students a one-on-one teaching environment in order to enable ILC students to learn the nuances of a language. While the average class size in a public high school ranges from 20 to 30 students, classes at my high school can range upwards of 30 students due to its over 3,000 student population. For even the average student, these large class sizes can be challenging. ILC students face challenges with focus and in a large classroom, the noisy distracting environment inhibits their focus. The best learning environment for these students is a quiet room with only one or two other people. Unfortunately, most schools don’t have the means to accommodate this in terms of providing ILC students with private teachers, as foreign language is not a graduation requirement. My project addresses this issue by providing student teachers who are willing to spend the time to work one-on-one with these students. Since students have at least one free period, with the 100 members in Spanish Honor Society, it is easy to pair Spanish Honor Society members with ILC students in a way that fits both schedules. In order for ILC students to have equal opportunity to become bilingual and be set up for success in the job market after high school, it is imperative they are given individual attention to focus on becoming conversational in Spanish with this one on one teaching format. To accomplish this, I created an interactive Spanish curriculum unique to the learning needs of differently abled students, that can be used as a basis for all tutoring sessions. This curriculum covers a vast array of subjects including: time, seasons, family, food, school, classroom, conversation, activities, sports, colors, numbers, clothing, feelings, body parts, geography, animals, holidays, jobs and transportation. These subjects were chosen based on working with a Spanish teacher at my school to develop a holistic curriculum, comparable to that of a traditional Spanish 1 curriculum. This curriculum uses a plethora of media, including: presentations, videos, games, music, flashcards and worksheets, in order to reinforce the learning goals.

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

I gauged the impact of my project on my target audience by administering surveys to tutors and ILC students alike to measure how members rated the programs as well as what could be improved and how much Spanish had been learned. Furthermore, because three additional schools have already adopted this program and the number of participants from first semester to second semester has tripled, the impact of my project is exponential.

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

My project will be sustained beyond my involvement through Spanish Honor Society. I created a Google Sites page with all the curriculum loaded on the page in order to make the curriculum readily available after my departure. Additionally, my school uses a site named “Schoology” in order to allow students to view content teachers have posted. I utilized this same site, and created a course name “Unified Spanish,” in which I uploaded all of the curriculum for the course. In this way, after my involvement, both the Google Site, and the Schoology page will still exist independently. The Google site was developed to share more globally for those outside of the Cherry Creek School District, and the Schoology page was developed for those within the District. Students in Spanish Honor Society all have access to these pages, and are able to continually upload new content and use the material for future tutoring. I also set up an independent email associated with the project, to use as a login for the Google sites, and created a manual for next year’s students to use to continue the program. This is now an established program at my school, and the Spanish Honor Society sponsor, Ms. Wisler, will continue to sponsor this program and guide future students in their endeavors. Each year, Ms. Wisler will allow any student interested to lead the program and incentivize new membership to the program through rewarding participants with service hours that are required by Spanish Honor Society. Additionally, a printed manual, which is also available online, has been created to guide the new head of the program in their endeavors. All of these materials are meant to be continually refined.

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

The other national/global link to my project is the Twitter page I have created to promote my project to others. Social media is the best way to reach millennials these days, and even businesses and schools have joined this movement so that almost everyone is digitally connected. Through this Twitter page, I have followed accounts of other schools and programs dealing with differently abled students. I have also posted a link to my Google sites website in order to provide universal access to the curriculum and program, in the hopes of growing this program. Furthermore, I have emailed other Spanish Honor Society sponsors (teachers) and ILC teachers within the district to promote this program. They have all received a link to the Google Sites page and have access to all course materials and guides to begin the program within their schools.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned from this project that being a leader is not an easy task. Leading requires constant communication with those you’re leading as well as those who are helping you. Some methods I learned that helped me lead this program is finding the easiest way for my peers to participate in this program. One of these ways was connecting digitally. Instead of sending them emails or requiring them to meet twice a week, I would send out group texts as reminders to sign up for tutoring or of updates with the program. Also, I learned the importance of touching base with the teachers I was working with. Even though I led the program, Ms. Wisler, the head of Spanish Honor Society, and Ms. Linda, the head of ILC, both needed regular updates from me in order to offer me tips or suggestions, so constant follow up with them has been key. I also learned that sometimes you need to try different methods in order to succeed. Last year, when I first started tutoring for ILC, I quickly learned that in order to reinforce a concept, using a variety of different methods is useful. I applied this same knowledge in the creation of this program. From finding the best meeting place to figuring out the best way to communicate with tutors, all proved to be tasks that required looking at the issue from more than one perspective. Concerning myself, I learned that I am a people person. I love making new connections and learning about new people and communicating with different people. In a school of over 3,000, most don’t even know every person in their own class let alone other classes. Through this program, I was able to meet and get to know students of all classes and demographics who came together for one purpose, to help others. I truly enjoyed getting to know teachers, staff, and students whom I never met before. Currently about 20 tutors are participating to teach all ILC students capable of participating.

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

I firmly believe that as a result of this project, I will be able to take on even more strenuous challenges in all facets of my life. Knowing that there are a multitude of ways to solve any given issue has also enabled me to look at perspectives other than my own and try a variety of methods to surmount any given obstacle. In turn, this has developed my communication and leadership skills and taught me how to work as a unified front with those on a team. I was amazed that while I can accomplish a lot as an individual, with the help of others, so much more can be accomplished. It takes more than one person to solve an issue like the one I’ve identified in my project. Without the help of others this project would not have reached the magnitude of strength it did. Leadership is more than about the individual, it’s about how an individual can unite and influence others to work together for a common cause. It’s certainly true that there’s strength in numbers, and my sharing my passion and hard work with others who value the Spanish language, I was able to inspire my colleagues and now friends to take action with me. I will continue to grow and learn from others I encounter in my life, and apply both the knowledge I’ve gained from this project, and future knowledge acquisition to grow as both a person and a leader.

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

I believe that my Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I was able to apply the values of the organization in a sustainable way. From when I started Girl Scouts in first grade, I began to develop the sense of what being a Girl Scout really means, being part of a larger community and developing ways to better that community as a whole.  Furthermore, through completing my Gold Award I feel as though I have gained a greater sense of independence as an individual, because of the strenuous nature of all the requirements of the award.

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

Attaining my Gold Award has helped me become a G.I.R.L. by allowing me to identify a challenge within my community and giving me the opportunity to be a go-getter by formulating a plan and putting it into action. The project has helped me become an innovator by applying non-traditional methods to reach desired results.  Not everything works the first time, sometimes it’s necessary to be creative and approach a challenge in a different manner.  I’ve developed my risk-taking skills by reaching out to people I hadn’t known previously and taking the chance that they would reject my ideas or project as a whole.  But by doing so, I’ve realized that the answer is always no unless you ask.  Risks are a necessary part of life to achieve success.  Finally, I’ve developed myself as a leader by working with students, faculty, and community members alike to unite for a common goal.  This was no easy feat.  I had to adapt my communication skills for my target audience and work in conjunction with an agglomeration of schedules to achieve success.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Susan Wilson, Aurora, “Media for Me”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue my project addressed was cancer patients not having any entertainment while receiving their treatments. Typically, the cancer center treats 14 patients per day, and out of those 14, about 1/4 bring something with them. This could be because either cancer patients forget to bring something or they can’t afford anything like an iPad to bring with them. With cancer patients already paying for treatments, they may not be able to afford something like that. They can sit for as short as 30 minutes to as long as 8 hours. In that time, it can be physically and mentally exhausting sitting in a chair while they receive anything from chemotherapy to radiation to infusion therapy. I hoped that cancer patients would finally have something to entertain themselves, so they are distracted from their treatment.

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

I think the reactions from people are the greatest examples that I made a difference. Considering I haven’t seen the impact of my media center yet from the patients, I won’t really know how they feel about it. However, I know the nurses are very happy about the center, so I can only imagine how the patients will react. I was able to donate three DVD players, two CD players, three pairs virtual reality goggles, five pairs headphones, 257 DVDs, and 11 books on tape.

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

The Parker Adventist Hospital Foundation will continue my project. That means any further donations that come in will go to the foundation, and they will give it to the cancer and infusion center. Also, the foundation will upkeep the electronics used. This means if a movie player were to break, the foundation will either fix it or replace it. I didn’t just want to stop there, I also reached out to Grandview High School’s Key Club to see if they wanted to be involved. However, Parker Adventist Hospital already has a media center, so I will be reaching out to either Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Littleton Adventist Hospital, or Rocky Mountain Cancer Center to see if they would like a media center for their patients. If so, Key Club will be creating their own in order to continue my project.

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

Over the summer, I traveled to Europe with my troop and went to Pax Lodge. During the trip, I met a couple of volunteers there and befriended them. We met Andi, a Girl Guide from Mexico, and Kat, a Girl Guide from Canada. When I first started up my project, I created a Facebook page, so people could be updated on the progress of my Gold Award project. My mom shared it on her Facebook, and from there people were able to pick it up and share the link themselves. Two of those people who picked it up were Andi and Kat which meant my page was shared in Mexico and Canada. In addition, my project and Facebook page was shared on the Parker Adventist Hospital website and employee newsletter which is also shared with Adventist Hospitals nationally as well as in South America and Asia.

What did you learn about yourself?

Something I learned about myself is that I can do a lot more than I give myself credit for. To be frank, I didn’t think my project was going to have such a great turn out with all the donations I received. However, the response was great because of all the hard work I had put in. I drove countless hours to visit stores to see if they would donate and went to local Starbucks and libraries to hang up my flyers. On top of that, I spent extra time at Parker Adventist Hospital informing all the employees about my project. I didn’t expect myself to put in so much effort and work, but once I became really passionate about getting more donations for patients, all I could do is work.

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

I think earning my Gold Award will help me with opportunities not only in school, but in the workforce as well. Recently, I applied for an internship that has to do with leadership and managing your own team. It was because of my Gold Award that allowed me to be accepted into the internship because of the role I took on with this project. Earning my Gold Award has proven that I can lead a team to success on my own and that I’m actually capable of taking on big, important projects. I think my Gold Award will also impact me to think of more ways I can help the world. After completing a project that benefits my community, I would like to continue helping people possibly beyond. Especially after recent events, such as Vegas, Harvey, Irma, etc., there’s plenty of opportunities to help. I can’t wait to give my time and energy into aiding others that need support the most. And because of my Gold Award project, I know there’s nothing stopping me.

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

I think the Gold Award is an important part of my Girl Scout experience because my whole Girl Scout career was leading up to this. Not only do many girls not complete or attempt to earn their Gold Award, but many girls also don’t stay in Girl Scouts this long in order to get to this point. It is a huge honor to earn my Gold Award to be able to join the many inspiring Girl Scouts ahead of me. We are a small part of the majority that actually stayed in Girl Scouts and put in the effort to benefit inside and outside of our communities by OURSELVES. That’s amazing, if you ask me. Not to mention that not many people realize what the Gold Award is and what it can do. I honestly think the Gold Award was the single most important part as my time being a Girl Scout because it required to the most work and was definitely the most rewarding. People don’t realize the benefits of the Gold Award for not only the people affected by it, but the girl herself. I feel I have gained a sense of accomplishment, leadership, and confidence because of my Gold Award. And I can only imagine other recipients feel the same as I do.

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

I think earning my Gold Award definitely made me into a go-getter the most out of all the qualities of being a G.I.R.L. If I’m being honest, my Gold Award pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I would definitely describe myself as a shy introvert. When completing my project, I had to talk… a lot. Not only did I have to talk more than I would have liked to, but I had to talk to a great deal to strangers. Whether it was presenting my project or asking for donations, I was forced into situations that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with. However, I would say my project turned me into a go-getter because I everything I did, everywhere I went, everyone I talked to, it wasn’t for me. My project was for the cancer patients at Parker Adventist Hospital. Acknowledging this,  I knew I had to push outside of my comfort zone because I wanted to get my project completed and completed well. I went to stores such as Target, Costco, Best Buy, and Walmart to ask for donations and went to Starbucks and libraries to hang my flyers. It was a lot of driving, hours, and advocating, but I knew what I wanted; I wanted to make a great media center for these cancer patients.

**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.

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

 

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Julie Monington, Aurora, “Milkweed for Monarchs”

Julie Monington

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

In 2014, the Monarch Butterfly was on the verge of being on the endangered animals watch due to the large decrease in the population size.   After doing some research, I found several articles and learned  that the reason the population is struggling is because farmers and the general population were killing off milkweed. I created a butterfly garden at a horse sanctuary, and made several presentations on how to save the Monarch Butterfly to my sister’s troop and a preschool class.  In addition, I made a sign and website full of information on the Monarch Butterfly based on information from Monarch Watch and why they are endangered. I registered my butterfly garden on their site as a waystation, and it provides a connection and information for others to learn.

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

In addition to seeing an increase in butterflies due to the milkweed, I also chose to measure the impact by seeing what the students learned as well as measure their excitement to create their own garden.

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

The sustainable aspect of my project relies on the owner of Friends of Horses, the rescue I made the garden, to maintain it. I have also provided the educational materials I used for my presentations to the owner so he would be able to offer the lessons at his summer camps.  In addition to this, the property maintainer and volunteers will take care of the garden.

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

The first portion for the global link was I had my sister’s troop create their own mini-milkweed gardens. The second portion is the garden was registered on the national program Monarch Watch. The third portion is the sign and website I created to pass on the ideas and information I used. The last part was teaching younger students about the garden and encouraging them to develop their own garden.  The teacher at the school received a flash drive so this information can be shared annually.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am good under a time crunch. I found a way to do many things in the limited time that I had to do it.  In addition to this, I learned to work with different adults and children as I tried to address this issue.

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

Earning the Gold Award will be useful to show how I had leadership capabilities at a younger age and help me be successful in college and also assist me in getting  a job in the near future.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it was the final part of my journey, and makes me feel like the whole trip led up to this big project.

**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