Gold Award Girl Scouts 2021

Gabrielle Naassana earns 2021 Girl Scout Gold Award

Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Gabrielle Naassana of Pittsford, NY, as a 2021 Gold Award Girl Scout. Gabrielle is from Troop 60982 and has been a member of Girl Scouts for 13 years.

Project: Supporting Students During the Pandemic

For my Gold Award Project I worked with the non-profit organization Saint’s Place to collect school supplies and tablets for refugee children and any children in need in the Rochester area. I also hosted live Zoom reading sessions and creating videos of me reading for children staying at Hillside Children’s Center.

In order to collect supplies, I conducted neighborhood and community drives and intend to spread awareness for my project via social media. Additionally, I performed office work and managed their Instagram account. Their account currently has 2 followers and no posts. My goal is to update the account and consistently post information about volunteer work, how to get involved, and wish lists for needed supplies. I will create videos explaining how I collected school supplies and organized drives locally. Also, I will be posting photos of Saint’s Place items that are being put up for sale. In today’s Society, social media has an everlasting impact on all generations and platforms such as Instagram are an effective way to advertise and raise awareness for non-profit organizations. In addition to Instagram, I also designed reusable flyers that list the school supplies children need. These flyers can be passed out in neighborhoods and throughout the community and will simplify the collection process. Lastly, I created video recordings of me reading books to children ages 5-12 staying at Hillside Children’s Center that are able to be replayed.

The main focus of my project was to provide students with the school supplies necessary for them to succeed. Sadly,
many children are put at a disadvantage when they do not have access to the proper materials for school. With online learning becoming the new reality, students need access to electronic devices for Zoom calls. That is why tablets were an essential item to collect for this project to be successful.

I chose this project because as a first-generation American, Saint’s Place is an organization I hold close to my heart. I’ve grown up volunteering at their annual super sales with my older sisters, and love what they stand for. Helping our local refugees and refugee children and any children is my priority, especially during the pandemic. I want as many children as possible to have access to an online education, which is why collecting tablets was one of my project’s goals. I believe all children deserve to have the materials necessary for them to be engaged in school and succeed. Also, reading to the children offered an activity for Hillside residents to look forward to and enjoy. Most summer camps were been canceled, so these reading sessions helped Hillside entertain the children and kept them reading outside of school.

I hope this project benefits refugee and other children and supports them in their academic careers. I want refugee parents to feel relieved that their children will have all the materials needed for school, and not worry about having to buy everything themselves. School supply shopping can be expensive once everything adds up, between folders,
notebooks, pencil pouches, binders, backpacks etc. The current pandemic has made us all very reliant on computers and tablets. By providing tablets to refugee families, parents will not have to worry about homeschooling their children and children will benefit from receiving a proper online education. I also hope that by offering children the opportunity to engage in a book, they can stay busy and continue to read outside of school. With schools being shutdown, many students may lack the motivation to read in September. By motivating children to continue to read in the summer, they will be more likely to keep this habit up in the fall when school starts.

About the Gold Award

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.

For more information on the Gold Award, click here.

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