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Crystal Simmons
(713) 292-0321

Girl Scout spreads autism awareness to earn Gold Award

HOUSTON (Jan. 12, 2011) – Girl Scout Ambassador Madeleine K. held an autism awareness event and arranged a mentorship program for autistic teens to earn the Girl Scouts 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.

“I learned the importance of helping others and spreading awareness to my community,” says Madeleine Keogh, a senior at Saint Agnes Academy. “I also learned the importance of “digging deeper,” meaning don’t just take everyone at face value.”

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 chose this project after volunteering with a group called Teens Mentoring Teens,” explains Madeleine. “This group introduced me to helping autistic teenagers, and I knew I wanted to help them.”

For her project, Madeleine gave presentations to different community groups about autism and held two three-hour activity days where teens were paired with a mentor to learn communication and social skills.

“Madeleine absolutely put this project together on her own initiative and I am so proud of her,” says Monica Keogh, Madeleine’s mother. “She learned to coordinate multiple details and still stay calm. She was always solicitous of everyone and worked so hard to make sure everyone had fun. She has gained in maturity and regard for others.”

As a member of Girl Scouts, Madeleine has earned her Bronze and Silver Awards as well as many religious awards. At Saint Agnes Academy, she participates in Student Council, National Honor Society and Habitat for Humanity. She also plays water polo and is currently swim team captain. Following graduation, she hopes to attend a four-year university.

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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