Girl Scout Creates After-school Program to Raise Special Needs Awareness
HOUSTON (March 2009) – Girl Scout Senior Anna G. developed and delivered an after-school program for students at Shearn Elementary to earn the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than 5 percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.
“Through my community service project, I learned how to plan and implement a program for children,” says Anna, a student at Bellaire High School. “I also learned how to approach unfamiliar interests and how to work with children effectively which requires patience, understanding, responsibility and flexibility.”
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 more than 100 service hours and 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.
“I have always enjoyed working with children and have a specific interest in special needs and special education,” explains Anna as to why she chose this project. “I wanted to help a school that didn’t already have an afterschool program because they are often seen as unaffordable.”
Anna created the program to increase youth awareness of special needs issues. She met with Shearn Elementary students for eight-days after school, focusing on a different issue each day such as behavioral disorders and blindness. The program ended with a party that included the school’s special education class. Anna also held a donation drive to raise supplies for Shearn.
“I believe that Anna acquired much stronger leadership skills while working on her Gold Award,” says Dineh G., Anna’s mother. “While she has always been comfortable working with children, this project allowed Anna to lead her peers and also to work with a diverse group of adults.”
As part of a Girl Scout troop, Anna enjoys camping, leadership activities and community service. She participates in theater and peer mentoring at her high school, and is also a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to attend college to pursue a degree in psychology with a focus on autism.
Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 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 65,000 girl members and 17,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit www.gssjc.org.