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Mona Tolbert
(713) 292-0361

Girl Scout teaches art to homeless young adults to earn Gold Award

HOUSTON (July 7, 2010) – Girl Scout Ambassador Caitlin L. spent a week at art camp, but she didn’t learn a thing about art. She was the one teaching it.

To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, Caitlin created a week-long workshop where she is teaching photography to homeless young adults, ages 18-21, at Covenant House.

“I knew I wanted to create a project that incorporated my interests in science and art,” says Caitlin, who will be a senior at Episcopal High School this fall. “For the past two summers I have both been a volunteer counselor at the Houston Museum of Natural Science where I worked in the ‘Freeze Frame’ class and participated in the Pozos Art Project in Mexico. These experiences taught me more about the science of photo processes, how children interact with cameras and images, and the medium format of the Holga camera. By combining my past experiences of art, science, and working with students, I hoped to create a project that would benefit the community.”

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. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

To carry out her project, Caitlin met with ArtBridge, a local non-profit organization that works to provide art programs for homeless youth. Associate Director Anna Marie Smith helped to connect Caitlin with Covenant House. To subsidize the cost of photography supplies, Caitlin presented her vision of the workshop to managers at Texas Art Supply and Houston Camera Exchange. Both companies made generous donations. In addition, Episcopal High School loaned Caitlin cameras and other darkroom equipment.

Through the project, Caitlin says she hoped to not only instill a love of photography in her students, but also a sense of self-esteem through the creative process. In addition to learning how to use the Holga cameras, the students have made their own pin-hole cameras and sun-prints.

Caitlin held her photography workshop June 28-July 2 at Covenant House, 1111 Lovett Blvd. in Houston.

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 72,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit www.gssjc.org.

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