Gold Award

Gold Award

2023 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Emily was inspired by her cousin, Matthew (a child with Down Syndrome) and his friendship with his preschool friend, Maddie, to introduce, "a concept of Down Syndrome to children in a way that avoids common misconceptions surrounding the condition." In partnership with the Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network, Emily was able to write and illustrate a children's book that displays how children with Down Syndrome are both different and similar to their peers in a positive manner. Her book, "Being Human: A Down Syndrome Story " is available on Amazon for purchase and has already been distributed in Los Alamos County, as well as purchased from customers in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. You can read more in the Los Alamos Daily Post as well.

Fallon created the "Blowing Off Steam" room as a safe space for people to channel their grief and anger constructively. Partnering with The Grief Center of Albuquerque, she designed and developed the space, working with Elite Building Systems to guarantee its safe installation. Additionally, Fallon filled the room with other soft objects like stuffed animals and pillows she made with a group of volunteers.

“Anger can be scary and it’s not always a welcome emotion so knowing that you have a place to let those feelings out is important …We observed that teens and adults were interested in using the Blowing Off Steam room, which was originally envisioned as a space for kids. Now it’s a resource for people of all ages who are experiencing loss.”

Fallon will attend Marquette University in Fall 2023.

In partnership with the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, Jennifer took action to raise awareness about the dangers of wildfires after the oldest Cottonwood tree at Whitfield was lost in April 2022 to the “Big Hole Fire.” She created a memorial plaque to commemorate this amazing tree that also served as an outdoor classroom and home to nests for Great Horned Owls and other wildlife. In addition to memorializing this tree, Jennifer also created a curriculum regarding fire safety and shared it with fire safety professionals, educators, and more!

Kaitlyn saw that between a pandemic, peer pressure, and a general lack of resources; students face substantial obstacles that negatively impact their outlook on STEM and pressure them to distance themselves from what they are not interested in or do not comprehend. To help students become more involved, Kaitlyn organized and implemented a summer STEAM Camp where youth have the opportunity to experiment with engaging projects that demonstrate the real-world applicability of STEAM.

“I learned that if I am passionate about what I am doing, no obstacle can prevent my success.”

Kaya was struck by her personal experience with a family member who struggled with mental illness. She knew with the rising mental health crisis among youth that it was more important now than ever to provide mental health resources for other teens and children. By collaborating with Los Alamos High School, Kaya researched national, state, and local mental health resources to be featured on her high school's website to encourage her classmates to seek help if needed. Her thorough webpage also includes information on various mental challenges, as well as other risk factors. She was able to coordinate with student leadership to create flyers with QR codes to this webpage in every classroom to help make access simple and easy. You can read more in the Los Alamos Reporter as well. 

In partnership with Seed2Need, Keely took action to create tree identification signs to help make tree maintenance and harvest easier for field workers. With the identification markers in place, it increases the fruit yield and therefore increases the food that can be donated to local food banks to address food insecurity. In efforts to raise awareness of food insecurity in New Mexico, Keely launched an educational website that teaches people what food insecurity means, as well as providing information for different resources both locally and nationally to help those in need. 

“Through my Gold Award journey, I learned how to communicate better, direct people, reach out to the community, as well as grow in the face of adversity due to setbacks.”

 

Meghan L.
Sensory Pathways for Wigglers

Kids with neurodiversity like autism and ADHD need a more directed activity to deal with their sensory overload. Most schools rely on timeouts or sending them to a different room. These options don't address the root cause. 

Meghan met with principals in Aztec, NM with her idea. After garnering permission, she spoke with sensory pathway companies and her community to fundraise and acquire the needed materials.  US Eagle Credit Union sponsored Meghan's project via a grant that helped her fund her needs.  

Today, three elementary schools have Sensory Pathways for their students to utilize instead of sending kids to time out.  Meghan also did a presentation on Autism at her school to help teach her classmates about the struggles she has faced as a young woman with Autism. 

“I learned that I could talk to adults I never knew easily if I was passionate about what I was sharing.”

Raven combined a passion for history and camp to develop a Gold Award project that focuses on the historical preservation of summer camps. Raven led a team of camp staff, alumni, and volunteers in uncovering historical documents, reviving forgotten traditions, and creating a preservation guide that's been shared worldwide from New Mexico to Germany! The project also celebrates the role camps of all kinds play in building identity and community. Raven will attend St. Lawrence University in the Fall of 2023.

Samantha recognized that New Mexico struggles with a lack of access to food and sanitary products despite the hard work of homeless shelters, food pantries, and good samaritans.  Samantha's project implemented two little free pantries in high-traffic areas in Rio Rancho. 

“I discovered a passion that drove me towards success, that reminded me that failure and mistakes happen, but they shouldn't prevent me from moving forward and doing everything I can to help others.”

Sheree identified a need for animal care education in rural communities following wildfires. Her project, Sheree’s Horse Clinics, focused on educating individuals about proper care and evacuation procedures for larger animals like horses and livestock. Sheree provided for her project's longevity by training a group of volunteers to continue these clinics.

“This last year I experienced a fire where I live. At the time of the fire, I was not in an area where I could get to my horses. My mom and little brother were home with no horse experience, left frantically not knowing what to do. My horses were left trapped. This was a learning experience for everyone involved.”

Sheree has joined the United States Marine Corps, and already departed to begin basic training.

2022 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Approximately 90-95% of cancers are preventable and only 5-10% of cancers are inherited (National Cancer Institute, 2017 and American Cancer Society, 2020). However, cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide (CDC/National Center for Health Statistics, 2020). The question becomes if the majority of cancers can be prevented, why are millions of people dying from this disease every year?

Acknowledging the lack of education and the subject of cancer not being properly addressed in schools, Charlie created a committee at her school and worked with teachers to ensure that cancer education will be taught in different classes to ensure all students are reached. 

“I learned that as difficult as it was, being able to research something that had never been done before and work to make a change was super fun, exciting, and rewarding. I learned that I am much stronger than I realize and that I have the courage and strength to talk to oncologists, to make these suggestions to teachers, to conduct a school-wide survey to ensure that cancer curriculum is effective. I learned that I can persevere.”

Growing up, Jillian heard many stories about the people of Los Alamos.  As she grew older and the elders in the community were lost, she saw that many of those stories were no longer being told.  She wanted to capture the stories to the fullest extent while still maintaining as much accuracy as she was able.  

Jillian created a comic book based on these stories and a children's program tied to the comic that teaches kinds about Los Alamos history and how they can create their own comic. To purchase a copy of the comic, please visit the Los Alamos Historical Society. 

“I learned that I have the ability to converse with adults to learn information and that asking for help is only going to improve my project and my knowledge. I also learned that I have the drive to complete quality projects while under pressure (some of it self-induced). I enjoyed learning the art program and creating digital art, a medium I had never used before..”

Sofia recognized the need for more pollinators in the Santa Fe area.  Through her project, Happy Trees, she identified Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park as the perfect location to improve.  With support from the community, they planted two big bur oaks and a lot of small pollinator plants donated by the Xerces Society through a grant to connect the city on a pollinator trial. In total there were 105 plants planted including trees, shrubs, and cacti.

During the process, she garnered input from the neighbors who lived in the area, by holding a public meeting at the park. She also worked with a horticulturalists to get his opinion on where the plants should be placed. 

“I did this project to work on my Girl Scout Gold Award Project initially, but during the planting at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, I knew it was much more than a badge. It was bringing the community together and helping the environment.”

2021 Gold Award Girl Scouts

During times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, people do not have easy, free access to books because the libraries and schools are closed. In a time when it is more important than ever to give people, especially kids, the opportunity to get lost in the world of literature as a coping mechanism, it is more important than ever to create little free libraries that are accessible to every corner of Albuquerque and throughout rural regions of New Mexico as well. Books are one of the best ways to empower while in the midst of social distancing. The neighborhoods most in need of books are the ones with the least amount of Little Free Libraries accessible in the area, which needed to change in a pandemic that especially hit the lower class so hard.

“I wanted the Little Free Libraries  to be put to good use wherever they were installed. I filled the Little Free Libraries with a mix of children's and adult books and resources to serve all ages in this time of crisis when so many other resources are not available.”

Isabella's Gold Award project was an easy decision for her.  She has been volunteering at Crossroads for Women since she was a Brownie.  Crossroads is a transitional housing therapeutic program in Los Lunas. 

Isabella focused on the importance of the mother-child bond.  She purchases supplies to make stuffed teddy bears with pre-recorded messages from parents to their children and sent these as part of care packages that also included earmuffs/scarves, activity kits, and various goodies. 

She was also able to raise enough money to help purchase equipment for the Pavillions family room, including a foosball table and basketball net, as well as collect and deliver over a thousand books.

“Parent reunification during time is important because it helps children know that their parents love and care about them. This project centered on building the bond between mothers and children. Moms have been separated from their children during incarceration and it is important to build positive communication between them during this separation period.

When young children are in a safe and fun setting with interactive learning, their minds are more open to learning and enjoying what they learn. Many children do not feel comfortable learning to read, write, or learn music in larger groups. When they are in smaller groups, and the learning content is colorful and interactive, they might feel more confident in their abilities and be able to take that confidence back into the mainstream classroom.

Jenna addressed this issue by developing an interactive curriculum that proves to produce the most positive impact when used with a  small group of children and hosting classes at Music on the Westside.  The elementary students she worked with gained the basic writing and piano skills needed to adequately express themselves. 

She also created the "Rainbow Writers Creating Music" YouTube channel to share her curriculum with the world. 

 

 

“Soraya Yavari, my global project advisor, has received my project curriculum/video and has announced plans of implementing my curriculum with her young students in Brussels, Belgium at the Roots and Wings Primary School. My video has been shared with other international contacts as well. I believe that my YouTube video also serves as a national/global link since it has been made accessible, via YouTube's education tab, to anyone anywhere in the world. Dr. Patty O'Sullivan, my second project advisor and founder of Envision Your Future, has also been meeting with me on a monthly basis to discuss my project's impact. She has invited me to become a part of Envision Your Future's emerging Advisory Board  where I will have the space to continue sharing my project's impact with local and national educators..”

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