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Wellesley Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Five young women from Wellesley received their Girl Scout Gold Award from Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts during the 2019 Gold Award Ceremony on June 14 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting given for extraordinary community service projects. Jessica Cheng, Enya Gamble, Julia Ma, Grace Ryan and Clementine Stark were honored alongside a total of 74 Gold Award Girl Scouts from Eastern, Central and Western Massachusetts.
 
The Gold Award challenges young women in grades 9-12 to create meaningful, lasting change to their community through an extensive service project, for which they must dedicate a minimum of 80 hours (completed over one or two years).
 
First, the young woman must choose an important social issue to address. She then investigates, develops a plan to provide a long-term solution, recruits volunteers to help, and presents her Gold Award project proposal to her local Girl Scout council. Finally, she takes action to implement her project in a sustainable way. Through the process, Gold Award Girl Scouts build invaluable problem-solving, organizational, and leadership skills, while educating and inspiring others.
 
Wellesley’s 2019 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients addressed important social issues that broadly benefit the Wellesley community.
 
Jessica Cheng addressed volunteerism by created a website that allows students and local organizations to connect for volunteer opportunities. The website also offers students resources and information for leading their own projects to address community issues they are passionate about. In addition to making a website, Jessica educated her peers about Wellesley government and local nonprofit organizations through a variety of presentations. The Computer Science Club at Wellesley High School will continue updating the website.

Enya Gamble addressed the rate of homelessness in Massachusetts by partnering with Family Promise Metrowest, a local homeless shelter. She created a digital cookbook of healthy recipes for volunteers to use when making meals for families experiencing homelessness. The cookbook includes recipes submitted by volunteers who are part of the local service network. Families can also use the cookbook upon leaving Family Promise Metrowest and entering their new homes.

Julie Ma addressed Wellesley town history. She conducted a survey of elementary school students in Wellesley and found that while their knowledge of Wellesley history was lacking, they were interested in learning more. In response, Julie interviewed residents including town officials, the police chief, and longtime community members. She compiled her research and gave a presentation to students about local historical figures, institutions and landmarks. She also created a website for the public with this information.

Grace Ryan addressed childhood literacy by designing, implementing and leading an eight-week program on Greek Mythology for elementary school students at the Wellesley Free Library. Lessons and activities focused on learning several Greek myths and identifying their impact on modern Western language, literature and art. She chose several Greek myths with strong female role models including Atalanta, Persephone, Athena and Artemis. The Newton Country Day School Classics Club and the Wellesley Free Library are interested in continuing the program.

Clementine Stark addressed the balance of mental health and academic success. She solicited feedback from her peers during a mental health forum, and after analyzing the data, created a pilot program for an in-school sleep lab called the Time-In Lab. This wellness space is safe, quiet, technology free, and allows students to rest or meditate during the school day. Wellesley High School is continuing this program.
 
The Gold Award is an accomplishment that a Girl Scout is able to display on her resume, making her a more appealing candidate to colleges and employers. In addition, Gold Award Girls Scouts who join the armed services enter one rank higher than other recruits. The Gold Award demonstrates, beyond a doubt, that a Girl Scout is a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader).
 
Each Gold Award Girl Scout receives a Gold Award pin, and special individualized recognition from individuals and organizations including the U.S. military, the Department of Health and Human Services, NASA, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, the White House, both federal senators, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives.

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