Tribute to Achievement: A Night Where Actions Spoke Louder

The Girl Scouts, honorees and guests in attendance showed us all how to ACT FOR CHANGE at our 2019 Tribute to Achievement (TTA) dinner and we are grateful to so many for their generosity and support.

Girl Scout emcee Phoebe Williams kicked the night off as our Girl Scout emcee, much to the delight of those in attendance.

“There is no better time than right now for us to come together to lift up the girl voices that are speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo and working to change the world.”

The evening also featured a mini panel, with two of our Action Speaks Louder stars Amoolya and Carlie, as well as Connie Lindsey; Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion at Northern Trust and Past President of the Girl Scouts of the USA National Board.

Each of these women spoke about the impact of Girl Scouts in their individual lives and shared their hopes and dreams for change in the future.

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“As adults, we have the responsibility and the privilege to create every opportunity possible for the girls in our lives to discover their own voices. We need to SEE them. We need to HEAR them. We need to ACT with them.” Connie Lindsey

See Amoolya, Carlie and other action taking girls in our council video “Action Speaks Louder.”

We also had the pleasure of honoring the following awardees; Luminary Award Recipient Kelly Grier of EY, Corporate Appreciation Award Recipient Exelon, received by Bridget Reidy, and the Girl Scout’s Own Award recipients, the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital, received by Dr. Colleen Chicchetti and Ms. Caryn Curry.

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Thank you to our honorees for showing the world that ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER!

We also want to thank everyone who supported Girl Scouts GCNWI at TTA this year! Your generosity will be the spark to help our Girl Scouts to become the best Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers and Leaders that they can be!

Together, we ACT for Impact. Your investment shows the world what you stand for and who you are. Your action speaks power to the importance of girls practicing leadership today.

These young women are the resilient change makers needed for a brighter future. We are grateful for your generous support. Support Girl Scouts GCNWI!

Are you ready to make a difference in the world? Earn the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Are you ready to make a difference in the world? Earn the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards.

Wow—talk about impressive! Girl Scouts everywhere are changing the world in meaningful ways. What can we say? It’s in our DNA.

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn. All three awards give you the chance to do big things while working on an issue that’s captured your interest in a big way. Do you know a girl who is ready to be a part of this prestigious group of young women who are changing the world?

Learn more about the Highest Awards, and read on for an announcement about a change in requirements for the Girl Scout Silver Award and the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Attention Older Girl Scouts! As of October 1st, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is pleased to announce a change in requirements for the Girl Scout Silver Award and the Girl Scout Gold Award. Girls may now complete final projects that benefit the Girl Scout community. In order to make sure that this change doesn’t dilute the prestige, leadership efforts, or impact of each girl’s project, Silver and Gold Awards must still meet the requirements that are key to taking sustainable action:

  • The project makes a lasting difference in the local community, region, or beyond;
  • The project puts the Girl Scout Promise and Law into action;
  • The project includes provisions to ensure sustainability;
  • The project identifies national and/global links to the girl’s selected issue;
  • And the project inspires others.

This change does not impact girls who have already begun or submitted a project plan, since girls choose an issue first, and then add in the other parameters that will make it sustainable.

If you have any specific questions, please contact Annie Gilmartin, Manager of Highest Awards, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Video: Girl Scout Gold Award from GirlScoutsUSA on Vimeo.

Local Girl Scouts Give Back to Kids in Hurricane Victims

Local Girl Scouts Give Back to Kids in Hurricane Victims

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After watching a CNN special about students displaced after Hurricane Harvey, 12-year-old twins Allyssa and Ashley Smith joined forces with their Sister Girl Scouts in Troop 50384 to collect school supplies for kids in need.

“I saw the interview with a few students who were crying about losing all their stuff and not being able to go back to the same schools with their friends,” said Allyssa. “It made me really sad and I wanted to do something to give them hope that it was going to be okay. I thought if they had a new school bag with new stuff, it would let them know I care about what has happened to them even though I don’t know them.”

And her sister agreed.

“It is very important to help people in need because it can inspire them to get through their tough times into better times,” Ashley said. “There are so many mean people in the world who do bad things, but if more people are nicer and do good things to help each other, we can overcome the badness in the world. If no one starts, then the world will get worse. I want to be a part of the good people.”

Kids in the Gap

Inspired by a group called Kids in the Gap at their church, the girls and their friends decided to “stand for kids who can’t stand for themselves,” said Joyce Smith, Allyssa and Ashley’s mom.

The troop partnered with the Aurora Fire Department to reach their goal of 500 filled school bags for students in the Houston Independent School District.

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“By helping others, you are encouraging them. Showing compassion and giving kindness can really uplift a person when they are experiencing a rough time,” said 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette Kendall Winston. “It lets them know that ‘I care for you,’ which can be great for someone who is hurting or suffering. My family and church family have also taught me that it is a blessing to help people when they need it most.”

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So far, the girls have received more than 100 bags from people in the community, as well as retailers such as JCPenney and Five Below. In addition to school supplies, each bag will contain a note of encouragement from the Girl Scouts as part of their Silver Award project, which is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

“You never know when you may need help and you would want someone to help you,” said a 13-year-old Gelani Clark. “Right now, we are blessed to have more than what we actually need so why not be a blessing to someone who may be down on their luck if you can? When you have been blessed to have so much, it is good to give a blessing to others.”

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The girl are also collecting toiletries for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Items can be dropped off at Aurora Fire Department stations.

“Girl Scouts has taught me that when you help others and give back to the community, you have a better impact on the work and it teaches you to be kind,” said 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette Edniah Hamilton. “You have to think of others who may be less fortunate than you, so it’s nice to give back and help whenever you can.”

To learn more about how you can help with disaster recovery, please visit girlscoutsgcnwi.org.

Your donation of any amount will continue to support Girl Scouts’ giving back!
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Local Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

Local Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

After noticing the gardens at a local residential facility were in need of some TLC this summer, Claireabelle Boudart, Emily and Lauren Balla of Arlington Heights, Illinois decided to take matters into their own hands, literally. The 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadettes helped spruce up the gardens at the Clearbrook Center in Rolling Meadows, Illinois as their Girl Scout Silver Award project.

“My uncle lived at Clearbrook for a lot of his life because he had Down syndrome,” Claireabelle said. “I went to visit him and saw the gardens needed a bit of work because everything was dead. So two of my other friends decided to make it our Silver Award project.”

The Silver Award is the highest award a middle school-aged Girl Scout can earn and it gives girls the chance to show that they are leaders who are organized, determined and dedicated to improving their community.

“When we visited the gardens, we saw it wasn’t very pretty,” Lauren said. “So we decided to do this as our Silver Award project because we figured it would put the residents in a better mood if they saw a nice garden and had somewhere to sit in the shade when it’s sunny.”

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With help from the Arlington Heights Garden Club and their mothers, Kathryn Boudart and Kristin Balla, the girls developed a plan to revitalize the gardens at Clearbrook, the largest provider of home-based services for people with disabilities in the state of Illinois.

“The garden clubs helped us dig up the old plants and figure out where to plant the new ones,” Emily said. “They were a really big help. I’m not sure how well we would have been able to complete the project without them.”

Unfortunately, Claireabelle’s uncle, Bill Ignacek, who was a longtime resident at Clearbrook, passed away before the garden renovation was complete.

“My uncle touched a part of my life and I felt like I had to give back,” Claireabelle explained. “He taught me how to behave around other people and how to respect everyone equally, so I wanted to pay it forward. If he was still around, I think he would be very happy with it.”

All of the girls are proud of their work and plan to pursue their Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

“We were really surprised and happy and proud of ourselves that we were able to accomplish something like that,” Lauren said. “We learned that when you work hard as a group, you can accomplish a lot.”

Claireabelle agreed.

“I learned a lot from Girl Scouts, like how to give back, how to work with the community and how to work with other people,” Claireabelle said. “I think that giving back to your community is a very important part of your life because it does so much for you if you think about it.”

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Local Girl Scout Receives Scepter of Light Award

Local Girl Scout Receives Scepter of Light Award

Kaitlyn Kropp knows what it takes to be a leader.

On Monday, October 10, 2016, the 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador received the Elena of Avalor Scepter of Light Award in honor of her ability to lead through everyday challenges  with the same attributes that define Disney’s Elena of Avalor.

Diane Ikemiyashiro, director of original programming for Disney Junior, presented Kaitlyn with the award on ABC7 and said it symbolizes the “true meaning of leadership.”

Earlier this year, Kaitlyn created an impressive sensory room at The Academy of Forest View in Arlington Heights as her Gold Award project to give those with autism the ability to minimize their stress before returning to class.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout between the ages of 14 and 17 can earn. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment required to complete the process set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.

Reactions to Kaitlyn’s Gold Award project have been so positive that other schools have contacted her about creating similar spaces in their schools. Click here to see Kaitlyn in action.

A BIG thank you to Roz Varon ABC7, Girl Scout alum and former troop leader, for having us on!

Downers Grove Teen Earns Girl Scout Silver Award

Downers Grove Teen Earns Girl Scout Silver Award

When Sophie Marro’s grandmother suffered a stroke a while back, the 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette knew she wanted to do something that could help patients in rehab. After witnessing cancer patients struggle with seatbelts due to the portacath used for their chemotherapy, Sophie started making port pillows as part of her Girl Scout Silver Award project.

One weekend, 12 people and more than 250 port pillows later, Sophie, who lives in Downers Grove, was able to donate the items to Elmhurst Hospital Cancer Center, the hospital that treated her grandmother.

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“The patients were really happy to see them,” Sophie said. “They were glad to see someone was thinking of them. It felt really good and I was happy that I could give back to the community that helped my grandmother.”

As a result of her project, Sophie earned her Silver Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

“I feel like I really honed in on three skills: leadership, organization and staying positive,” she said. “Leadership because I learned about accomplishing goal. Organization because there was a lot of material and people to organize to make sure everything ran smoothly.”

At one point while Sophie and her friends were making the pillows, all of the sewing machines broke because they were overworked.

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“We got a little frustrated, but it was important to keep an upbeat attitude,” she said.

Sophie, who’s been a Girl Scout since first grade, has plans to earn her Gold Award as well, which is the highest award in Girl Scouting.

“I participate in a lot of sports, but they don’t really teach citizenship or giving back to the community,” she said. “I’m really happy that Girl Scouts allows me to do that.”

Highland Park Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Food Allergy Awareness

Highland Park Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Food Allergy Awareness

For many children and teens, food allergies are a matter of life or death. But Susan Tatelli, a 13-year-old Girl Scout Cadette from Highland Park, Illinois, refuses to let her peanut allergy define her.

As part of her Girl Scout Silver Award project, Susan created a video showing her self-administering epinephrine, a medication used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, during one of her anaphylactic reactions.

“I think it’s super exciting and incredible,” said Susan of the response her video has received so far. “I’ve gotten thank-you notes and emails from people all over saying their kids had anxiety about their allergies and the video has helped them. Parents say it helps them feel safer about their kids. I’m really happy and glad that it’s helping people. I think it’s great.”

Recently, Susan completed an 18-month enrollment in a clinical trail at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which used oral immunotherapy to help combat her severe peanut allergy. Although not 100-percent cured, Susan is now able to enjoy activities such as going to the movies and flying on a plane without fear of an allergic reaction from being in close proximity to a peanut product.

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Susan after a reaction to the clinical trial.

On Sunday, May 15, Susan was a guest speaker at the 2016 Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) National Food Allergy Conference in Orlando, Florida where she shared her experience with anaphylaxis from a teen’s perspective.

“Learning to self-administer epinephrine is especially important with teens because they do stuff without their parents with them,” she explained. “If you’re somewhere having a reaction and your parents aren’t there, you have to know how to do it and take responsibility for it.”

In addition to the video for her Silver Award project, Susan has increased awareness about food allergies by hosting epinephrine readiness workshops at local troop meetings and conducting an EpiPen training session at her 13th birthday party.

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Susan teaching a Lake Forest Brownie troop about epinephrine readiness in April.

“It’s important for teens to teach your friends how to administer an EpiPen so if you’re around them and have a reaction, they know what to do. I recommend injecting an orange with an expired EpiPen for practice,” she suggested. “Teach them about your allergy so they can help keep you safe.”

Girl Scouts Give Free Ski Lessons to Children and Adults with Autism

Girl Scouts Give Free Ski Lessons to Children and Adults with Autism

Lisle Girl Scouts braved the cold Sunday to help children and adults with autism try out skiing, some for the first time, at Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports.

Troop 50796 members Maeve Doyle, Amanda Laurinec, Marley Malczewski, Emme Moore and Briana Ortiz organized the event in an effort to achieve their Silver Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

Aside from helping the skiers, the eighth graders also handed out handmade coloring books and “super Crayons” that are easy for children with autism to use.

Four Lakes agreed to host the event and offer free admission to the autistic skiers and their families.

Lisa Sanchez traveled from Shorewood so her 6-year-old son Max, who has autism, could try out skiing.

Sanchez said “to be able to do something like this with the Girl Scouts so he can figure out if he likes it before we go find programs,” referring to her son’s special needs Sanchez added “if can be hard to find programs that just don’t throw them in with everyone else where then he struggles to keep up with everyone else.”

To read the full story, visit DailyHerald.com.

(Photo via Sue Larinec, Girl Scout troop leader)

Lisle Girl Scouts Offer Free Ski Lessons for Those with Autism

Lisle Girl Scouts Offer Free Ski Lessons for Those with Autism

A Lisle Girl Scout troop is inviting adults and children with autism to try skiing for free at Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports on Jan. 17.

Maeve Doyle, Amanda Laurinec, Marley Malczewski, Emme Moore and Briana Ortiz — the five Lincoln Junior High School eighth-graders in Troop 50796 — came up with the idea more than a year ago while brainstorming ways to achieve their Silver Award.

Troop Leader Sue Laurinec said the girls decided they wanted to melt down old Crayons and make new, bigger “super Crayons” that would be easy for children with autism to use. She told them it was a good thought but not enough to earn their award, which requires them to spend at least 50 hours organizing and completing a community project.

Emme then suggested going skiing with the children. Laurinec made a call to Four Lakes at 5750 Lakeside Drive in Lisle, and the managers agreed not only to host the event but also to offer free admission to the autistic skiers and their families.

“I was blown away by the generosity,” Laurinec said.

To read the full story, please visit dailyherald.com.

Girl Scout Recognized by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

Girl Scout Recognized by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

After noticing a need for clothing at a local food pantry, Madison Fanta, of Saint John, IN, decided to do something about it. At age 9, she started donating her own clothing to the pantry to help other children. Shortly thereafter, her collection expanded to a dedicated room at the pantry and Maddie’s Helping Hands was born.

On Friday, November 13, Madison, a 15-year-old Girl Scout Senior, was honored for her work during the 11th annual Power of Children Awards by The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, IN. The award recognizes young philanthropists (grades 6-11) across the country for their significant contributions to society.

“My project was inspired by my Nana, who works at a local food pantry,” Madison explained. “When I went there and saw all the kids and people in need of clothing, I asked my family and friends to donate clothes for people in need. I think it’s important to give back because not everyone enjoys the same privileges.”

As one of five recipients, Madison received a $2,000 grant, which she plans to use for purchasing undergarments to distribute at the food pantry.

“Madison’s project reveals her compassionate and philanthropic nature,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum. “Her vision to clothe the underserved in her community, and her commitment to grow her project through recruitment of significant numbers of volunteers from the elderly to fellow Girl Scouts, demonstrate that Madison is precisely the kind of inspirational young person the Power of Children Awards program was created to honor and recognize.”

Madison, who is a lifelong Girl Scout, plans to use Maddie’s Helping Hands as the basis for her Gold Award project. The Girl Scout Gold Award, which celebrates its centennial in 2016, is the highest award that Girl Scouts ages 14-18 may earn. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment required to complete the process set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. Girls complete seven steps to earn the Gold Award, including the completion of a significant service project.

“The Gold Award is important to me because it means that I am growing as a Girl Scout and I’m able to accomplish more than I ever thought,” she said. “The most important lesson I’ve learned as a Girl Scout is to give back to the community.”

To learn more about Maddie’s Helping Hands, watch the video below: