While some high schools now require a few hours of community service for graduation, none go as far as the Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award.
This year Kirsten Brandenburg, Jacqueline Hausner, Pauline Janeo, Linda Mulé and Jessica O’Connell of New Hyde Park join the record number of 121 Girl Scouts in Nassau County that have woven a minimum of 80 hours of community service into their busy schedules. These young women developed Gold Award community action projectsthat address social issues in their community or promote acts of kindness and goodwill throughout Nassau County. Their efforts earned these girls the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor that a young woman can achieve in Girl Scouting.
The Gold Award project helps high school-aged Girl Scouts develop leadership skills and explore various career paths. The Gold Awards require up to a 3-year commitment from each Girl Scout. It affords the teen the opportunity to learn about arts and humanities, cultural and global relations, personal well-being, technology and science, environmental concerns and many of the innumerable issues facing young women and the world today.
Brandenburg wished to educate her community about prevention and detection of various forms of cancer for her project. After gathering research on the disease, she created handouts that contained information to educate the public, spreading her message by using her public speaking and communication skills to talk to attendees at a local Relay For Life event. She recently graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, where she participated in the Jones Beach Strides Walk, usherettes, guiding at open house tours and was captain of the golf team. She also volunteered at Winthrop University Hospital. She will attend Fordham University in the fall.
Jacqueline Hausner and Jessica O’Connell teamed up for their Gold Award project to address the issue of elderly loneliness. They created a “Friendly Visitor Program” in which teenagers from their parish visited and formed bonds with local senior citizens, many of whom cannot easily leave their homes. By pairing up the teens and the seniors, both parties benefitted through the new relationships they developed. Hausner, a recent graduate from Sacred Heart Academy, participated in Red and Gold, softball and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also volunteered at Winthrop University Hospital. She plans to attend the University of Delaware in the fall to study nursing. O’Connell recently graduated from Holy Trinity High School, where she volunteered for the respite program at St. Anne’s school and spent time with children with special needs. She also plays softball and is an active member of her church. She plans to attend University of Delaware in the fall.
Janeo’s Gold Award project was designed to inform girls in her community about the variety of careers available in the Math, Health and Technology fields. Through presentations to middle school students, she sought to encourage students to stay in school and to study these important subjects. By showing them the practical applications of these subjects and their possible career paths, she was able to show the connection to their future. She is a recent graduate from New Hyde Park Memorial High School, where she was a cheerleader, Peer Leader and a member of the Key Club. She volunteered for the Long Island Chinese Center Dragon Boats competition and for the American Cancer Society. She will attend Penn State University in the fall.
Linda Mulé addressed the issue of bullying in schools and in the community for her Gold Award project. She took national statistics and incorporated them into a presentation that she made at an elementary school assembly, also presenting the information to the middle school, the local library and initiated a bullying program in the health classes at the high school. The PowerPoint presentation that she created will be added to the anti-bullying curriculum. Mulé also initiated an annual bullying awareness day at Herricks High School, where she is currently a junior and wrote an article for the website teennewsnet.com. Mulé is a member of student government, Justice League, Key Club, Model Congress, Student Action for the Environment and the Bullying in Schools Board. She also volunteers for many local organizations and at the Herricks camp and Saturday recreation programs.
The Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors between ages 15-18 were honored with a ceremony on June 12 at in Garden City. In addition to the Girl Scout ceremony, on June 21, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano presented the girls, along with their Eagle Scout counterparts from Boy Scouts, with certificates for their achievements at the in Mineola. Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray also honored Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and Eagle Scouts on June 3 in an event at Levy Preserve.