Archive

Volunteering

fourgirlsforgirls

by Amanda, Lily, Olivia and Maxine

We are “Four Girls for Girls,” a few members of Troop 3225 who recently worked together to complete our Silver Award project.

What is the Silver Award? The Silver Award is a group service project where Girl Scouts (specifically Cadettes) support their community by enacting change that benefits others. The project should incorporate sustainability, and each girl is required to contribute a minimum of fifty hours of work to complete the Silver Award. For our service project, we were interested in focusing on helping young girls our age who may be facing difficult living situations or life transitions. We wanted the project to pertain specifically to young girls because we felt as though we could better establish a connection with them. We teamed up with a non-profit organization called Five Acres throughout our project with this goal in mind.

Five Acres is a non-profit organization that works as both a foster home and transitional home for children in Southern California. It’s been helping families for 128 years. Specifically, we targeted girls ages 6-14. Last March, Five Acres added a new transitional program and cottage for girls who are being relocated. Typically, they’re placed here if they’ve just been removed from unsafe conditions. They stay in this home for a few days while Five Acres searches for extended family members in the area. Generally, these girls arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Learning about this really affected us, being four teenage girls ourselves, and this inspired us to formulate our Silver Award action.

The core of our Silver Award project was to create comfort bags. Each girl will receive one when they arrive at their cottage at Five Acres. The bag itself is a drawstring backpack filled with several things, including toiletries, books, friendship bracelets, comfy socks, a journal and pen, pocket hearts, and comfort dolls, which are of our own creation. The pocket hearts are made out of clay, and painted with acrylic paint, and they have a textured pattern on their front. The purpose of pocket hearts is when you feel stressed or worried, you can rub the heart to make you comfortable and calm you down. We also made the comfort dolls. The comfort dolls are weighted, heavy dolls that contain rice, lavender, and stuffing. Give them a hug when you feel stressed, and all your worries will go away! In addition, we recycled chip bags into vinyl covered, fabric lined zipper bags, which could be used for holding their toiletries or for any other purpose. We felt like all of these things were crucial to add to the bags because they seemed to be the essential to make someone happy, or at least girls like us, our age.

As part of our sustainability aspect, we first presented our Silver Award to fifth graders at our school and taught them how to make friendship bracelets, which we put in our bags. Each of the fifth graders seemed very interested in the bags we were making, and we were really impressed that they each made several to put into the bags. Even though we gave them the option to either keep their bracelet or donate it, nearly everyone chose to donate theirs because they really liked the idea of helping the girls at 5 Acres. One of the fifth graders turned out to be a Girl Scout, and was so excited about our project had her mom get in contact with us, so we also presented to her troop, and later to our own.

We also presented our project at our local service unit’s monthly meeting, this time to other troop leaders in our area, who could take the information back to each of their troops. By presenting to all of these groups, we raised awareness and received supplies for our project. We decided to put some sustainability into the bags as well, by including journals that the girls will probably look back on to remember the life they were living. We also collected puzzles, board games, card games, and books to donate to the cottage itself, which will hopefully last a few years and leave something for the girls who come after the bags have all been distributed.

Interestingly, there was an unexpected but very welcome addition to the sustainability aspect of the project. A staff member at 5 Acres told us that Girl Scouts often ask what they can do to help them. She told us that from now on she will tell them about how helpful our project was and will encourage them to make similar donations. 

The last part of our sustainability is writing this blog post, to share our experience with all of the readers. We hope that you will share this with people you know, and continue to sustain the effect of our service project by spreading the idea far and wide, so others might pick it up and run with it.

Reflecting upon this project, each of us realized the voice we have in our community. With a new perspective revealed to us by girls going through the same stage of life we’re in, we learned to appreciate what we have. We’re all so grateful to have had this opportunity to contribute to the community, as well as educate our peers and ourselves about some of the needs that exist and the ways we can reach out to others.

Advertisements

gs-blog-mints-footprints

The purpose of Girl Scouting is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. To fulfill this journey, we are educating ourselves with business skills through our cookie sales and other fundraising activities. We are working toward a goal of an international troop trip and community project to benefit those in need.

One of the many reasons we sell Girl Scout cookies is to gain financial support for our growth in knowledge and skills to help us reach out to others. By purchasing a box of cookies, you are fueling a girl and her troop’s passion to lend a hand. Our troop gets about a dollar for every box sold, and we’re putting those dollars toward our local and global community efforts.

Part of what you’re supporting is our work toward earning badges. We have badges that address and build environmental responsibility, community outreach, and other skills that shape us into good citizens.

Before the end of their scouting career, Girl Scouts work toward global change by participating in the Bronze Award, then the Silver Award and, finally, the Gold Award—the three highest honors a Girl Scout can receive. To achieve these, we are required to make a sustainable, positive impact in our communities by identifying a need, creating a plan, and then taking action that will fill that need while leaving “footprints” behind to inspire long-term benefits.

We want to leave our footprints locally and globally, and you can help us through simply buying a box of Thin Mints. Of course, if Thin Mints aren’t your thing, we have several other flavors that just might be!

 

by Lily

I care about the topic of supporting girls’ education because it’s very important for people of all genders to be educated about why we need to have equal education for everyone. I think that everyone should have the chance and ability to go to school, so they can get a job, earn money, and support themselves or a family in the future. My friends and I are very lucky to go to school, and we take it for granted because a lot of girls around the world can’t go to school. So, we should stop complaining every morning about getting out of bed to go to school.

Some girls don’t get to go to school because they might have someone attacking them violently every time they go to school or leave their house, which could be the effects domestic violence, or that in some countries, their society doesn’t believe that girls or women should go to school. Some can’t afford to pay for school or uniforms, because they may live in poverty or a poorer area of their country, also in America, school is free, but in other countries, it isn’t and you have to pay for it. A lot of girls aren’t legally allowed to go to school in their country because society in a lot of developing countries believes that girls shouldn’t go to school. Sometimes girls can’t go to school because they were married way too early and don’t have the opportunity to get an education.

If girls go to school, they can have an education that they can use to get a job and earn money, to read, write, and speak other languages. They can get married at a good age later in life, and have children later in life, which prevents death during childbirth because children aren’t meant to have children. It also prevents HIV and AIDS, which children are more susceptible to. They’re more likely to have educated healthy children, and they’re more likely to stay out of the life of crime and poverty.

Some organizations that are helping contribute to girls education are the Afghan Institute of Learning which operates schools and other programs for women and girls in Afghanistan and in the border areas of Pakistan.  Another organization is the American Assistance for Cambodia, which has a program to subsidize poor girls so that they can remain in school.

One girl helped by She’s the First is Fatou, who’s a young woman from The Gambia who graduated high school and is saving to move on to college. She went to Starfish International, which is a school that teaches girls leadership skills, like gardening, photography, and bee-keeping. On Saturdays, they have extra classes, and the girls dress in nice outfits, so Fatou asked them if they want to have their picture taken, and she sold each picture for 35 cents to the girls. Fatou graduated from high school in 2014 because of the money donated to She’s the First from the tie-dye cupcake program. She’s now a photographer working full time and saving her money to go to college

As for everyday things that are easy for girls like me or people at my school to do to contribute, instead of having to be a big organization, here are some ideas: groups of people—girls and boys—in association with the organisation ‘She’s the First’ did a tie-dye cupcake bake sale that sold multi-colored cupcakes for one dollar each, and raised over $100,000 for girls education. The money raised went to buy scholarships for underprivileged girls in developing countries to attend and graduate high school. Four roommates in New York City raised $7,200 to sponsor 20 girls in Uganda. Four girls from another college threw a concert to raise money to help girls in India go to high school. Another girl held a 5K run to raise money to teach girls in underprivileged countries to read. Another girl sold bracelets to help girls be the first in their family to get an education.

B A S I C  S T A T I S T I C S

31 million primary school girls aren’t going to school around the world. School enrollment rates for girls have improved over the past decade, but more than 30 million girls of primary school age are still out of school today. Most of them will never enter a classroom. 32 million more girls are missing out on the first 3 years of secondary education. That means in total over 60 million girls are out of school today.

F A C T S

If all underprivileged women finished high school, deaths of children under 5 would decrease by 49%. Since 2000 girls spend an average of 7 years in school. Every additional year of school a woman attends increases her wages by about 12 percent. Increasing the number of girls who complete high school education by 1% could increase a country’s economic growth by 0.3%. The poorest girls in developing countries spend on average less than 3 years in school. 80 percent of the girls are unlikely to ever start school compared to 16 percent of the boys that are out of school.

In conclusion, my friends and I, and all others who have easy access to school are very lucky and shouldn’t take it for granted since many girls around the world don’t have the privilege to go to school. What surprised me most about learning about girls education is how many girls around the world don’t go to school. I want to help get more girls in school in underprivileged countries by using my savings to sponsor a girl or get together a group at my school to raise money by having a fundraiser.