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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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