Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Angelina Gonzalez of Buffalo, NY, as a 2020 Gold Award Girl Scout. Gonzalez’s project, Trees of Hope, donated living evergreen trees to children in need. The children were able to take care of the trees and use them for holiday celebrations if they wished.
Gonzalez explained, “I worked with an organization called Urban Christian Ministries for my project. My project consisted of me fundraising money to buy evergreen trees, creating an instruction kit package, then creating a presentation. The evergreen trees came with holiday decorations, winter-themed decorations, and a box of lights. The tree giving was an opportunity for all children to be able to take care of something on their own while learning about togetherness, as that is what the evergreen tree symbolizes.”
Gonzalez encouraged the children to use the trees to decorate their homes and enjoy them, even if they did not use them for holiday and wintertime celebrations such as Christmas or Dia De Los Reyes. Gonzalez discovered through U.S. Census Bureau data that 47.2-percent of Buffalo’s children live in poverty and the city’s poverty rate is ranked as the fourth worst among all of the nation’s major cities, and she wanted families to have the opportunity to decorate for the holidays or the season if they desired to.
Gonzalez stated that she hoped the project would have a further reaching impact, especially if families were able to plant the trees. She learned that one tree can produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen per year. She hoped the trees could help the children feel a sense of responsibility for a living organism and a sense of pride with whatever they opted to use their trees for, whether decorating or planting them.
By earning her Gold Award during the 2020 Girl Scouting year, Gonzalez will be included in a virtual acknowledgment this June. All 2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive the option to be a part of the 2021 in-person Gold Award ceremony next year to receive their Gold Award pin. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls.
The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into “going for the Gold.” A Girl Scout’s project should be something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action that encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global) and create change that has the potential to be on-going or sustainable. Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and she can enlist in the military at a higher starting pay grade.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
To learn more, visit gswny.org.