What did you do for your Gold Award project?
My project addressed the issue of inadequate accommodations for children with special needs who attend Sunrise United Methodist Church. My goal was to provide tools and/or a therapeutic area for these children. While the scope of my project was scaled back from an entire room to a mobile chest, I feel children with special needs will benefit greatly from the tools I put together for them.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
I know that I made a difference because the children with special needs at SUMC are already using the tools I have provided to help them in their classes. The parents also feel more comfortable leaving their children now that they know they have ways to help with their disabilities. My church community is now more aware, as are other churches, of the need for the appropriate area and tools for special needs programs. There are many people now willing to be volunteers to help continue to build on the project in the future and spread the word about it in the community. The children with special needs and their families are very happy that a program like this has started and the hope is that that will help them continue to attend church.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
I created a Special Needs Project Report booklet that outlines the life-cycle of the project. It details what equipment is needed, how to make some of the projects, suggestions on how to expand the program and a list of resources (books) that can be used for study. My project will continue to make an impact because there are people at Sunrise who will continue to work on growing this project and letting the community know that they have a safe place for children with special needs.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
I presented my booklet to three other churches (First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Wilson United Methodist Church). It is my hope that this booklet will aid these churches in starting their own programs and become a growing force in the community so that even more people can be educated on the importance of a comfortable and safe environment for the special needs community.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that being in a leadership role is a big responsibility that requires good communication skills, but that I am capable of managing a project this size. I now have a better understanding of how to manage and coordinate a project start-to-finish and have attained better skills in gathering requirements for a project. I also learned that I have the skills to present a project like this to a person or group of people.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
I am now more aware of those with special needs and working on this project has inspired me to want to do more for not only children with special needs, but anyone who is under-privileged. I will strive in the future to make an impact in their lives.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
Through my project, I have discovered ways to find challenges and overcome them. I have also gained practical life skills of communication through setting up meetings with various members of my church community. I found a way to promote cooperation and team building, as many members of my church came together to assist me on my project. I have many new relationships with these people and feel more connected to my community. I was able to identify a major community issue and can now identify more that I may be able to take action to resolve in the future. I know that I will be able to resolve more issues because I have gained a lot of confidence through this project, learned how to problem solve, discovered how to advocate for myself and those who can’t do it for themselves, and been able to inspire others to act and help me in my goals.
***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