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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