Muslim, Christian Girl Scouts Come Together to Foster Friendship, Understanding

Muslim, Christian Girl Scouts Come Together to Foster Friendship, Understanding

A beautiful event unfolded recently at the Islamic Center of Naperville, where two Girl Scout groups met for an interfaith event that paved the way for a lifetime of understanding and friendship.

We should all be more like Girl Scouts.

Heather Mieloszyk, a troop leader for her second- and seventh-grade daughters, was inspired to educate herself and her Scouts on the Islamic faith after some of the elementary students she teaches brought treats to school to celebrate Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset.

The students’ parents put Mieloszyk in touch with Saima Hasan, a program director for the Girl Scouts troops who operate out of the Islamic Center of Naperville. Hasan and her fellow troop leaders got to work planning a day of fun and fellowship.

The Daisies (kindergarten and first-grade Girl Scouts) greeted each visitor with a flower. The girls shared snacks (cupcakes and dates) and created pins with different colored beads to swap with one another. The visiting girls learned to write their names in Arabic and received bookmarks with Arabic phrases of goodwill translated into English.

“Today’s youth should serve as tomorrow’s ambassadors of peace in a troubled world,” Hasan told me. “They would use their positive experiences with various cultures, religions, races and ethnicities and build a world of understanding, which in some way will contribute to the healing and prosperity of this great nation.”

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

Muslim Girl Scouts Bring Christmas Breakfast to Naperville Firefighters

Muslim Girl Scouts Bring Christmas Breakfast to Naperville Firefighters

Naperville firefighter Kevin Caroll has worked about a dozen Christmas shifts in his 28-year career, but Friday was the first time there was a special gift delivered to him at the fire station.

Girl Scouts and their families from the Islamic Center of Naperville played Santa on Christmas morning delivering baskets full of Panera bagels, coffee cake, fruit and eggs to all 10 fire stations in town.

“This is a first. It’s very nice,” Caroll said.

After delivering treats the girls also chatted with the firefighters about their jobs and climbed in the fire trucks to explore.

“It is very much appreciated,” said firefighter Tom Kriss. “It’s not home, but it’s kind of like spending Christmas with your second family.”

The morning was about more than breakfast. Group leaders hope to counteract negative opinions about their faith.

“With what is going on in the world today, we have to be the ambassadors for peace,” said program director Saima Hasan. “We have to flood the hearts of our fellow Americans with love and kindness and show them what being Muslim is really about.”

(Photo via Daniel White, Daily Herald staff photographer)

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

Girl Scouts Spread Christmas Cheer

Girl Scouts Spread Christmas Cheer

Girl Scouts in Downers Grove, Illinois celebrated the true reason for the season by visiting a local nursing home. Troop 50972 sang Christmas carols and performed poetry and piano pieces for residents of Immanuel Residences.

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“As a Girl Scout troop leader, I try to help form thoughtful girls … thoughtful with one another and other people,” explained troop leader Jennifer Haselhorst. “I think a lot of times, kids don’t get to interact with older people and this was an opportunity for them to get to know somebody on a personal level.”

The girls and residents also worked together to create 50 Christmas cards for veterans at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois.

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“My favorite part was making the cards and talking to the residents,” said Jennifer’s daughter, Gretchen, a 7-year-old Girl Scout Brownie. “It was also fun getting to know them better.”

Englewood Girl Scouts Holiday Party Brings Nearly 300 Scouts Together

Englewood Girl Scouts Holiday Party Brings Nearly 300 Scouts Together

Nearly 300 Englewood girls sang, danced and opened up presents together Monday.

Girl Space, an afterschool program offered by Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, held its first Christmas party at Friendship Center in suburban Country Club Hills.

Girls from Sherman, Hendricks, Parker, Henderson, Basil, Dulles, and Libby came out. CEO Nancy Wright said the party was put on to “celebrate” them.

“We’re very fortunate to be in these communities and serve these girls,” she said. “It was really about celebrating them and bringing joy into their lives.”

Originally they were going to keep the party small and invite 30-35 scouts, Wright said. But so many schools wanted to get involved they decided to expand the event.

The program has three components: financial literacy, education and healthy living. They focus on each area for 12 weeks of programming.

On Monday, the girls wrote letters to veterans and seniors living in nursing homes. They played games, danced and sang Christmas songs. Each girl left with one gift and a backpack.

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

Girl Scouts Honor Mothers with High Tea

Girl Scouts Honor Mothers with High Tea

Several Girl Scout troops in Morton Grove, Illinois recently honored their mothers during a high tea party.

“We wanted to host an event that would be fun and teach the importance of respecting and serving our mothers by having the girls take part in serving their mothers at the event,” said troop leader Jill Alali. “This is such an important practice within our Muslim faith and one we thought also aligned with the Girl Scout values of being of services to others.”

More than 80 Girl Scouts and their mothers attended the ceremony at Morton Grove Campus Banquet Hall. In addition to serving tea to their mothers, the girls presented them with gifts and cards.

“From a very young age, children are taught the high value of family relationships and that the best among us are those who are of service to their parents and others,” Alali explained. “We should want for ourselves last and put the needs of our parents and loved ones ahead of our own. Through this selflessness, one finds humility and hence, closeness with God and contentment in life.”

The Girl Scouts also treated guests to a surprise Nasheed performance about the unique bond between mothers and daughters.

“It meant a lot to me being with my mom being thankful for her,” said Aman Mahmood, a 10-year-old Girl Scout Junior.

Check out the video below from CBS Chicago to learn more about the special event:

Former Girl Scouts Honor Troop Leader

Former Girl Scouts Honor Troop Leader

Girl Scouts are known for leaving places better than they found them. And former troop leader Virginia Cubalchini, 86, of Park Forest, IL left the world a better place than she found it through her nearly 40 years of service as a volunteer.

After learning about Mrs. Cubalchini’s death in August 2015, two of her Girl Scouts, sisters Lois Shadrick and LaDonna Carr, made a donation to American Forests to plant 50 trees in honor of her love for camping and the great outdoors.

“We would go to Camp Butternut Springs every year and clean the trails and the vines off the trees,” said Shadrick of Downers Grove. “We’d name trees as we planted them and as I was looking for something timeless to honor Mrs. Cubalchini, I thought about those trees.”

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Virginia Cublachini was a longtime Girl Scout troop leader.

Her sister, who described Mrs. Cubalchini as the “epitome of a Girl Scout leader,” agreed.

“She taught us to enjoy your surroundings and take in the beauty of nature. Don’t take it for granted. Stop and look around and appreciate it,” Carr said.

Mrs. Cubalchini’s daughter, Virginia Williamson, who lives in Frankfort, was touched by the gesture.

“My mom was all about the environment and spending time outdoors before it was fashionable,” she remembered. “She was just a caring person, extremely sensitive and very friendly. She always wanted to be of service. She saw how Girl Scouts could shape girls’ lives and give them a support system.”

One of Mrs. Cubalchini’s Girl Scouts, Nancy Aguirre, even stepped up to be her caregiver while she was recovering from a medical emergency. The two spent several days a week together reliving fond Girl Scout memories and singing camp songs.

“It was an honor to give back to her and do something nice for her after she’d done so much for us,” said Aguirre, who lives in Park Forest. “This was one of those connections you never forget and you look back on as a very special lifelong friendship.”

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Virginia Cubalchini (turquoise shirt) pictured with members of her troop.
Carr, who lives in Aurora, credited Girl Scouts will helping her self-esteem.

“I didn’t talk a lot when I was younger, my sister did all the talking for me,” she said. “But I came into my own after I became a Brownie. Girls Scouts helped me come out of my shell and I blossomed.”

But perhaps the most important lesson Mrs. Cubalcihini taught her daughter as both a mom and a troop leader was to “be passionate.”

“She was a single parent who raised two daughters and had three jobs at the same time, yet she still found time to be there for her Girl Scouts and give,” said Williamson. “She just enjoyed it so much and gave of herself. You get so much back when you give and her life was a true testament to that.”