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Catherine Meenan, 18, a student at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by restoring and improving the walkway at the Farmers Branch Historical Park. Catherine became involved with the Farmers Branch Historical District while working on her Girl Scout Silver Award. During that time, she was able to leave her mark on the community, specifically in the Rose Garden. To complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, Catherine led volunteers which included her dance team members, school friends, church friends, and her extended family in the repair and building of a flat, visible, path that is now accessible to all. The Historical Park at Farmers Branch has 100,000 visitors annually with many of them being young children and elderly who need paths that enable them to navigate the park safely. This project now allows the whole community to enjoy the park with ease. In Catherine’s words, “it is so rewarding to be able to give back to the community that has given so much to me.  As my troop leader always says, to those whom much is given, much is expected!”

The Farmers Branch Historical Park offers many opportunities from tours to educational programs to special events. There are rental facilities available, and even a historic baseball team. The concept of the Historical Park came about in 1981 with a movement to develop an outdoor museum. Its purpose is set to preserve and interpret the history of Texas and Peters Colony, with an emphasis on Farmers Branch. More can be learned about the park at:  http://farmersbranchtx.gov/161/Historical-Park

Catherine has been a member of Girl Scouts since 2nd grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills. One of the most important was leadership skills along with time management, organization, speaking, and persuasion skills. In her own words, “I developed the ability to be a confident leader who can make quick decisions. Also, I learned that as a leader, I do not have to complete everything myself, but instead delegate the work to succeed as a team. In addition, I inspired many of my friends to complete their Girl Scout Gold Award projects.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!

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Angelina Syler, 17, a senior at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, has completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by creating a sensory development room for the babies and their mothers at the Hope & Future Home in Antigua, Guatemala.  Angelina worked closely with the organization Women for Orphans Worldwide to bring the project to completion.  Angelina became passionate about this organization over a year ago when she traveled to Antigua on a Mission Trip. Angelina was immediately drawn to this place the second she walked in because all the girls seemed happy even with their back stories of abuse and neglect. 

To complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, Angelina researched how to best help this organization. She raised money through a garage sale.  Angelina purchased some of the items locally while other items were bought in Guatemala. She packed 2 large duffle bags with supplies to make the 1,823 mile journey.  Angelina led her team as they assembled swings, play houses, craft tables, and a trampoline.  They decorated the walls with murals to bring a cheery and stimulating atmosphere.

In Angelina’s words, “this project drove me to help even more then I had originally planned. These young ladies have had to grow up too soon, and I wanted to help.  This new, safe and fun place for the babies will give the moms some time back into their schedule to learn new skills and take a few minutes for themselves.  They deserve to have these resources.” 

Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) is an auxiliary of Orphan Outreach. The mission of Orphan Outreach is to improve the lives of orphans and at-risk children by meeting their physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs. WOW chapters around the world are committed to supporting Orphan Outreach in making a lasting difference for the precious children they serve in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Latvia and Russia.  Hope and Future is a children’s home that provides a safe and loving environment for more than 22 teen moms and children rescued from abuse, neglect, and trafficking. The home not only takes care of the teenage moms, but their babies as well.

Angelina has been a member of Girl Scouts since 2nd grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills. One of the most important was leadership skills along with patience, respect, responsibility, and confidence.  In her own words, “I have learned that I can take on big projects and use my resources in an efficient and productive manner.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!

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Caroline Podvin, 18, a student at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, is completing her Girl Scout Gold Award by educating her peers, teachers and community about concussion awareness and prevention. Caroline became passionate about teaching and helping others to recognize a concussion after her own personal injury in 8th grade.  Through her research she learned how to access a concussion injury and the treatment process from start to finish. Please see the attached presentation for further information.  

To complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, Caroline researched concussion awareness, prevention, and treatment options.  In addition, she led volunteers, which included friends from her high school dance team, fellow girl scouts, members of the rugby team and other friends to build collection bins for helmet donations. Children’s Medical Center was over joyed when they received the many helmets.   

In Caroline’s words, “this project gave me an opportunity to really understand the start to finish of the concussion process and to give back to the community through education of concussion awareness. In addition, the donated helmets will help many in need to recover quicker. My hope is that the community will be able to recognize when a concussion has taken place and move to treatment much quicker to shorten the potential long-term consequences.”

Children’s Medical Center Dallas is home to the only academic healthcare system in North Texas that is dedicated exclusively to the comprehensive care of children from birth to age 18. Children’s Health is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country and the fifth largest healthcare provider in the nation.

Caroline has been a member of Girl Scouts since 2nd grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills. One of the most important was leadership skills along with patience, respect, responsibility, and confidence.  In her own words, “I have learned that I can take on big projects and use my resources in an efficient and productive manner.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!

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Christina Davenport, 17, a student at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by leading a large group of volunteers through an extensive blanket making process and educating volunteers to the mission of Ronald McDonald House. Christina became involved with Ronald McDonald House when she was in 1st grade and has continued her commitment through her Senior year in High School. At a very young age Christina was very effected by the kids staying at Ronald McDonald House and wanted to make a difference.  Starting in 1st grade Christina collected pull-tabs that Ronald McDonald House melted down and sold. This provided them with extra money in which they are then able to help pay for the patient's housing. To complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, Christina lead volunteers which included her fellow dance team members, school friends, church friends, her parents and even her grandmother in an extensive fleece tied blanket making process. In the end, she delivered over 80 blankets to Ronald McDonald House. The staff was over joyed when Christina showed up and stocked their shelves. In Christina’s words, “this project gave me an opportunity to give back and help those in a greater way than just the pull-tabs. My hope is that the community will see what a great organization this is and want to further help these kids in need.”

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas provides over 4000 families every year with housing whose children are seriously ill or undergoing treatment. The house not only supports the health and well-being of those retrieving treatment but also provides the families with a home-away- from- home. No matter what, medical treatment is uncomfortable and nerve racking.

Christina has been a member of Girl Scouts since 1st grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills.  One of the most important was leadership skills along with patience, respect, responsibility, and confidence.  In her own words, “I gained very essential skills in this project that I can use for years to come.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!

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Emily Horvath, 18, a Senior at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by making the library at Johnsons Outpost, a more inviting place for young readers. For her project, Emily gathered over 1200 books, sorted them by reading level, color coded each level and reorganized the existing space at Johnsons Outpost.  Johnsons Outpost is a facility operated by Town North YMCA providing child care to families with need.  The TOWN NORTH FAMILY YMCA is dedicated to strengthening the foundation of community. It is about the coming together of community spirit. We exemplify our mission "to put Christian values into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all".  With a commitment to nurturing youth development, energizing healthy living, and inspiring social responsibility, Town North Family YMCA ensures every individual has access to the essential needs to learn, grow, and thrive. For over 55 years, our shared passion is to strengthen the foundation of our community. 

Emily has been a member of Troop 485 for 11 years and says the program has helped her develop skills in leadership and organization but it's most significant impact has been in helping her understand that anyone can make a difference in their community. Realizing that the needs at Johnson's Outpost were greater than the scope of her Gold Project, Emily reached out to a local builder' association and was able to enlist their members to donate time and supplies for significant improvements to the facility.  

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

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Hannah Bennett, 17, a student at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by redesigning the Hope Supply Co. warehouse, educating volunteers to the mission of the Hope Supply Co and exposing many to the importance of helping homeless children.  Before Hannah became a part of the team at Hope Supply Co, volunteers were lost and did not know the value of their commitment.  Now that has all changed.  Informational banners clearly state the mission and directional signs help everyone to be the most efficient. Pictures of her project can be viewed on Instagram @hannahs.hopesupply  Hope Supply Co. serves over 45,000 homeless children in the North Texas area and their numbers are always rising due to their continued collaboration with over 50 homeless services.  Their mission is to meet the critical needs of homeless children across North Texas by providing necessities including diapers, clothing, school supplies, toys, and programs to enhance their lives.

As the project was progressing, Hope Supply invited Hannah to join the student board at Hope Supply Co. She continues to help through her involvement on the board and the Hope Supply club at Ursuline Academy. 

Hannah has been a member of Girl Scouts since 2nd grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills.  One of the most important was leadership skills along with patience, respect, responsibility, and confidence.  In her own words, “I gained very essential skills in this project that I can use for years to come.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!

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Girl Scout Troop 485 fully recognized 4 of their members by holding a formal Gold Award Ceremony on December 18, 2016. The Gold Award recipients were, Kate Hofmeister, Karina Lall, Katie Murray and Alexandria Tedeschi. 

2016 was the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award, so we celebrate a century of girls changing the world!  Our Gold Award recipients completed their Bronze and Silver awards along with a Leadership Journey before beginning their Gold Award Take Action project. The Gold Award is given to a scout who demonstrates ability and skill in goal setting, planning, putting values into action and relating to the community. The scout must complete a community service project with a minimum of 80 hours of work to qualify for the award. The Gold Award is the highest honor for a Girl Scout senior or ambassador and only 3.7 percent of eligible Girl Scouts nationwide successfully earn this distinguished award.

While earning this award, girls explore possible careers, practice public speaking, improve communication skills, research and share their knowledge and often gain practical life skills such as learning to use a new piece of technology. Earning this award truly represents an incredible undertaking and a great learning experience.

Katie Murray – Katie was the first young lady in Troop 485 to complete her Gold Award. Katie worked with Boys and Girls Club to help preteens with self-confidence and self-esteem. Katie spent around 100 hours brainstorming, planning, and performing a project to help these girls. During the summer, she hosted a week-long dance camp for a group of preteen girls, where she taught them a dance she had choreographed herself. Sometime during each day of this camp, she would lead them in self-esteem boosting exercises. Finally, Katie created an opportunity for the young ladies to perform their new dance skills and show their friends and family everything they had worked on.

Karina Lall – The next young lady in our troop to complete her Gold project was Karina Lall.  Karina worked with Frisco Family Services to enhance their food pantry volunteer check in process, redesign the check in station and created a more appealing break room. The food pantry has approximately 3900 clients and 1700 volunteers come through every year. Now that Karina has made the volunteer check in process more efficient, the food pantry is able to serve more clients.

Kate Hofmeister – Our 3rd young lady to complete her Gold project is Kate Hofmeister. Kate completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by creating a volunteer training video for the Rays of Light organization. Rays of Light is dedicated to providing free, quality respite care to families with children with special needs. With this new tool volunteers are less nervous and more prepared to take care of a special needs child. This is important because many new volunteers who have never worked with special needs children before are afraid and do not know what to expect. The video not only shows you around the facilities, but tells you the rules and answers to some common questions. Having a volunteer training video ensures that every volunteer comes into the organization with a knowledge of what to do and where to go. 

Alex Tedeschi – Our final young lady to complete her Gold project is Alex Tedeschi.  Alex completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by building a large 700 plus library and game center at the Genesis Shelter. Annie's House, a part of Genesis Shelter, is a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. Women and their children will stay at the shelter for months. During this time having a form of entertainment and education is important. Alex realized these residents did not have a collection of books and games at their disposal. Alex spent over 125 hours brainstorming, planning, leading volunteers in cataloging the items into an electronic check in/out system, organizing the products on site and training the staff. Since the completion of the library, Genesis has asked Alex to become a member of their teen board, STAR. Students Tackle Abusive Relationships, Preston Hollow People newspaper interviewed her and Julie Hofmeister, her troop leader, for an article and Fox 4 News has honored Alex as a Hometown Hero. 

These girls have shown they are committed to working toward the goals they set for themselves and improving the world around them. These ladies have dedicated tremendous amounts of energy to discovering the needs in our communities, connecting with experts and volunteers and taking action to create true and meaningful change in our world. They are amazing leaders.

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Kate Hofmeister, 16, a student at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, and a member of Girl Scout Troop 485 recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by creating a volunteer training video for the Rays of Light organization. Rays of Light is dedicated to providing free, quality respite care to families with children with special needs, across the spectrum, in the Dallas metropolitan area. Together with our volunteers, we strive to lend support and relief to these families through our respite care program called Night Lights.  With this new tool volunteers are less nervous and more prepared to take care of a special needs child.  This allows both the volunteer and the child to have a fun and safe night. This is important because many new volunteers who have never worked with special needs children before are afraid and do not know what to expect. The video not only shows you around the facilities, but tells you the rules and answers to some common questions. Having a volunteer training video ensures that every volunteer comes into the organization with a knowledge of what to do and where to go, which puts less stress on the directors and allows the parents to know that their child is safe with his or her volunteer. 

Kate has been volunteering at Rays of Light for the past 7 years.  She watched new volunteers struggle in the beginning.  In her words, "I knew I could address this fear with a video, which was designed to calm the new volunteers nerves and allow them to enjoy their volunteering experience."  Kate spent around 80 hours brainstorming, planning, videoing, editing and producing the video to help the Rays of Light organization.

Kate has been a member of Girl Scouts since 2nd grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills. "I realized my potential for making a small difference in the world," she said. "Girl scouts showed me that it is important to work hard for my goals and issues I believe in. My experience in Girl Scouts helped me to learn how to work as a member of a team and encouraged me to do things that I might not have otherwise done.  This project will remind me to be a leader in my everyday life.  From making the video, I have grown as a leader and become more outgoing and friendly."

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change. 

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!

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Karina Lall, 16, a student at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by working with the Frisco Family Services.  She enhanced their food pantry volunteer check in process, redesigned the check in station and created a more appealing break room.   The food pantry has approximately 3900 clients and 1700 volunteers come through every year.  The Frisco Family Services exist to help members of our communities who are facing hunger, homelessness and other urgent needs improve their quality of life and achieve self-sufficiency. The Food Pantry is the most utilized service of the agency distributing over 47,000 pounds a month.  This vital resource allows Frisco and Frisco ISD neighbors and friends use their financial resources on other expenses during their time of time of crisis.

During trip to India, Karina was saddened to learn how many people live without food every day.  Ever since this visit, she has been on a mission to help with hunger.  In 2014, Karina and some friends started a youth chapter in North Dallas called North Dallas Akshaya Patra Youth Group. The focus of this group is to raise awareness and funds for Akshaya Patra, an organization that aims to wipe out child hunger and promote education for children in India. Due to Karina's active involvement she has been promoted to President for the North Dallas Akshaya Patra Youth Group for the 2016-17 school year. She also volunteers throughout the year in Dallas at various organizations affiliated with food such as NTFB, Soup Mobile and various food pantries. This is how she was introduced to the Frisco Food Pantry and become involved with this organization.

Karina has been a member of Girl Scouts since 2nd grade and says the program has taught her valuable life skills. "I realized my potential for making a small difference in the world," she said. "Girl scouts showed me that it is important to work hard for my goals and issues I believe in.  It also helped me to strengthen my communication and leadership skills. My experience in Girl Scouts helped me to learn how to work as a member of a team and encouraged me to do things that I might not have otherwise done."

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, combines leadership development, career exploration and community service.  It culminates in an 80 plus hour leadership project that each girl plans and executes according to her own interest and passions. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.

For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at 972-349-2400. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is 26,600 girls and 12,500 adult members strong. That's nearly 40,000 girls and adults who believe every girl can change the world! We have girls reaching their fullest potential in 32 northeast Texas counties. Our girls are discovering what’s important to them, connecting with their community, and taking action to make the world a better place!