Gold Award Girl Scouts are game-changers, trailblazers, and risk-takers. Over the past weeks, we have met the Gold Award Class of 2020 from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, young women who are inspiring, dedicated, and full of potential to change the world. We celebrate each and every one of these special young people who, through their acts of service to their local or global communities, exemplify the strength of the Girl Scout.
Meet the last (but certainly not least) group of this year’s Gold Award Class of 2020!
“I know that making a child happy is unlike any other joy there is in the world,” Girl Scout Alexis explained. She had a simple goal: to brighten the lives of children with serious illnesses and the hospital staff that serve them. To accomplish this, Alexis made a treasure chest for the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation. The chest is filled with new toys every month for children undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or a surgery.
Cozy Chemo Room
“Receiving chemotherapy treatment can be a long, uncomfortable, and at times scary experience, so I wanted to help comfort patients in any way possible.” Girl Scout Emma partnered with the Lutheran General Outpatient Center to repaint and refurnish their chemotherapy center. She created a game center and library, redecorated their reception area, and made the center a more welcoming place overall, additionally creating “swag bags” for 50 patients.
Stop the Bleed
Girl Scout Antoinette wants everyone, even young kids, to be prepared in emergency situations. Working alongside the program Stop the Bleed, Antoinette earned her Gold Award for leading a series of workshops for children in her community, teaching them essential lifesaving techniques, emergency preparedness skills, and what to do to help someone who is bleeding.
My project focused on the difficult topic of mental health. It created two presentations, one of which covered Anxiety, Depression, and Eating Disorders in depth. The other focusing on healthy coping skills that can be used in times of great stress. The three hundred fifty plus students at Gurrie Middle School will be taught about mental health through my two presentations in their advisories during the school year.
Self Esteem Awareness
Girl Scout Nadia, to uplift the self esteem of younger people in her community and neighborhood, created a survey, website, Facebook page, and YouTube video on the subject of positive self-outlook. “I hope my project will help youth stand firm and believe in themselves. I now have more belief in myself, and worry less about what other people think of me, after working on the project.”
Changing Your Outcome
“Even though there is a lot of information and research regarding breast cancer,” Girl Scout Ashley shared, “there is a lack of information on how to protect yourself from it.” In partnership with the Amita Health Cancer Institute, and the Eola Community Library, Ashley hosted a community public forum on breast cancer awareness, discussing how to perform a self-exam, actions to prevent breast cancer and issues of differential diagnosis.
Girl Scout Josephine took on the difficult subject of mental health, creating two presentations one covering different mental illnesses in depth, and another focusing on healthy coping skills that can be used in times of stress. Josephine presented her work to over 300 students at Gurrie Middle School, and her curriculum will be taught throughout the school year during their advisory periods.
In effort to provide comfort and care for parents of children in emergency hospital settings, Girl Scout Emma took action, and to earn her Gold Award, crafted care packages for the parents to receive while they are in the waiting room. “I hope I was able to make parents comfortable during their difficult time,” Emma said, “and remind them to take care of themselves as they care for their child.”
The Balance Needed for All
Girl Scout Neha sought to address the social stigma held toward mental health issues like depression and anxiety. “While people may be afraid to confront their illnesses under a ‘medical’ definition, it is necessary to seek the right help.” Speaking at the Rohingya Cultural Center in Chicago, and the Glenview Ismaili Center, Neha held information sessions for children on the subject of mental health.
Manor Lake Path Restoration
To encourage her community members to use the path around Manor Lake, and exercise more by biking, walking, and jogging, Girl Scout Ruth took it upon herself to improve and repave the pathway. After surveying people in her neighborhood, Ruth was sure that she would improve both the quality of the natural area and the possibility for others to enjoy and use the path.
Raising Awareness of Autism
“Many people are unaware of what Autism is, and how to treat people who have it. If we all take the time to learn that people who have Autism are just like us, and special in their own way, we can all make the world a better place.” This is what fueled Girl Scout Dominique to earn her Gold Award and create a YouTube video defining and spreading awareness of Autism.
Chemo Care Friends
Girl Scout Shannon, in honor of her aunt who passed away from cancer two years ago, partnered with Rush University Hospital to create chemotherapy kits for families. “While my aunt was in the hospital, my family was constantly running to the store to buy things she needed. I hoped that by donating items and putting these kits together, people would be able to spend more time with their loves ones.”
Reach Out and Help
In honor of the life of her friend Rylee, Girl Scout Madelyn held workshops for her peers on the subject of depression, mental health, and suicide prevention. “I want teens all over to know how to use ACT: Acknowledge, Care, and Tell,” Madelyn explained, to prevent and help mental health crises. Madelyn teamed up with Elyssa’s Mission to bring their program to high schools across the nation.
To promote healthy lifestyles among her community members, Girl Scout Grace created a website as a tool to be used by everyone to change their habits. From providing workout routines to healthy nutrition packed recipes, to mental health tips and resources, Grace has given her community many tools to improve their overall wellness and nutrition.
The Stress Test
Girl Scout Sara took on the mission of reducing anxiety rates and stress levels of teens in her local area to earn her Gold Award. After meeting with and gaining the support of the principal of her high school in reducing homework levels, Sarah ran a booth at a Health and Wellness fair, distributed fliers to local business, and discussed plans with her local library to introduce therapy dogs to campus.
Girl Scout Savannah wanted to reinforce in the importance of receiving a yearly influenza shot, and to do this, created a YouTube video and a website to promote awareness of the issue. “They will learn how to keep their families safe from the flu” through preventative steps Savannah outlines in her video.
Club Zen Den
“I find that while mental health is being talked about more and more,” Girl Scout Natalie explained, organizations and schools often fail to help students find something they can do to relieve stress.” To solve this issue in her community, Natalie started Club Zen Den, a club dedicated to destressing through discussions, activities, and social support. She also created a manual for students to start the club at other schools.
Healing Hands Medical Mission
“I wanted to show the people in my community the power they have to make a difference in other’s lives.” To accomplish this, and in partnership with the Healing Hands Medical Mission project, Girl Scout Madelynn asked her community to come through and provide flip flops and toothbrushes for children in Guatemala. While in Guatemala, Madelynn provided fluoride treatments and tooth-brushing lessons for children who lacked access to hygiene education and clean water.
Brain Hacking: Looking through the Screen
“I have always been interested in the way our brains translate our thoughts into behaviors,” Girl Scout Karishma explained, “especially how those behaviors differ or change in group settings. My curiosity led me to explore the effects that technology and screen time have on our brains.” To earn her Gold Award, Karishma researched and presented on the subject of excessive use of technology and its psychological consequences.
Meet Our National Gold Award Girl Scout!
We had the special opportunity to sit down with Therese, GCNWI alum and one of ten winners of the National Gold Award, for an in-depth conversation about her Gold Award initiative, Project Dandelion, and the power of the Girl Scout in the mission toward equality and anti-violence. Please join us in congratulating and “getting to know” Therese!
Every year, Girl Scouts of the USA selects ten exceptionally inspiring Gold Award Girl Scouts, nominated by local councils, as National Gold Award Girl Scouts. Therese is just one of these amazing young women– meet all of this year’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts!
Girls Change The World
Join us in congratulating the National Gold Award Girl Scouts at an International Day of the Girl celebration on Saturday, Oct. 10, where she and the other impressive young women will share their stories and motivations for making waves throughout the nation.
The Mark of the Truly Remarkable
Bronze. Silver. Gold. Three opportunities to make change, use your voice, and advocate for issues you care about. Three opportunities to impact the world through community service, civic engagement, and creative invention.
Are you ready to change the world? Learn more about earning a Highest Award at GCNWI.
Interested in meeting the other members of the GCNWI Gold Award Class of 2020? Read up on our blog series!