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Local Girl Scouts Earn Highest Girl Scout Honor
HOUSTON (May 19, 2008) – Local Girl Scouts Rachel S., Rachel H., Emily P., Haley H. and Caitlin C. all worked within the Cypress area to complete all the requirements to receive the Girl Scout of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.
Earning the Gold Award is a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement, and personal development. It takes two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project that is a service to the community.
Rachel S., a senior at Jersey Village High School, focused her efforts on helping the elderly. She partnered with Heartland Healthcare to provide holiday door hangers and gift bags for its sometimes forgotten 160 residents. “Elderly people play such a big role in the community,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to do something for them.”
She recruited a group of volunteers from her school’s band and orchestra to help make the crafts and gift bags. The also performed a holiday concert, where they played traditional Christmas songs and tried to convey the Christmas spirit with each note. “Even the smallest act of kindness can brighten someone’s day,” said Rachel S.
Many children staying in shelters miss the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays or have a day that’s all about them. Rachel H., also a senior at Jersey Village High School, wanted to create a special day for the children staying at The Salvation Army’s Residence Center. “I love being around children and wanted to do something to bring joy to these children’s lives,” she said. “I wanted to give them a special day where they would feel like the center of attention.”
Rachel H. organized six monthly birthday featuring games and entertainment to make each child feel special. She recruited volunteers to work with the 25 children who attended each party. She plans to finish the year out with the help of her troop. “I want to make this a tradition in my troop,” she said.
Emily P., a senior at Pope John XXIII High School, focused her efforts on increasing the number of organ donors in the local area. This was a personal mission as her aunt has been on the waiting list for a lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis. “I wanted to help bring awareness to organ donation and get more people signed up,” she said. “I hope this process will get my aunt a new lung soon.”
Emily P. and 14 volunteers partnered with LifeGift, which is a leading donor procurement agency, to pass out information and sign people up as organ donors. One organ and tissue donor can save the lives of up to 80 people, according to LifeGift. She reached more than 300 members of the community. “I learned a lot about what organs can be donated and how one person can touch so many lives,” she said.
Haley H., a senior at Cypress-Falls High School, created a project titled “mydreams.comm(unity)”, which consisted of five random acts of kindness. She began by enlisting more than 20 volunteers to help her reach her goal. Her acts of kindness varied from feeding the homeless to making gift baskets for the sometimes forgotten custodial and food service staff at her school. “Something as small as a batch of chocolate chip cookies can brighten the day for several hardworking, unrecognized individuals,” she said.
After four months of planning, Haley H.’s project assisted several people. “I learned the value of doing something small for someone else,” she said.
Caitlin C., a senior at Cy-Fair High School, partnered with the Mission of Yahweh, an organization devoted to helping women and children in crisis by providing food, shelter and rehabilitation. She created a space for children to escape their troubles through books. “I have a passion for reading, and a desire to help those less fortunate,” she said. “I was able to bring these two together to give the children at the mission a book nook.”
Supplies were collected to build a bookshelf for more than 1,000 books collected from the community. She also recorded 40 books on tape in both English and Spanish. The Mission of Yahweh had a special ceremony to introduce the new reading space. The ceremony was kicked off with a story time and craft session.
Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.5 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 64,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit www.gssjc.org.
GSSJC Pluralism Statement
Embracing and promoting pluralism is an integral part of every activity and plan of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, not disconnected or separate projects. Only individuals willing to accept and be educated about the basic tenet that Girl Scouting is for all girls may serve in volunteer leadership or staff positions.
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