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Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight: Special Needs


Recently, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida honored 31 bright young ladies with the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award! This year is extra special because it is the Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial! That means, Girl Scouts, just like you, have been Taking Action in their communities for 100 years to earn this high honor.

What is the Gold Award? Each year, we recognize girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing award recipients who used their Gold Award Projects to help those with special needs.

Annalise, Palm Harbor

When Annalise discovered that many families are unable to afford the costly therapy and equipment required for children with disabilities, she developed the Sensory Toy Library for Special Kids, a special needs toy lending library at the East Lake Community Library. Through this program, parents have access to 55 different pieces of equipment or toys that benefit children with a variety of disabilities. Annalise cataloged the equipment and developed a book describing each toy and its uses in order to make the check-out process easier for parents. Annalise is a senior at Palm Harbor University High School and plans pursue a biological science degree in college.

Clarise, Temple Terrace

Clarise’s project START Something Positive (Sensitivity Training and Rallying Teamwork) was developed to address the lack of inclusiveness that youth and teenagers with disabilities experience within their schools which often leads to bullying. She created a two day curriculum to teach middle school students about various disabilities and provide hands-on sensitivity training. The program was implemented in the 6th grade physical education classes at Terrace Community Middle School. The pre-and post-surveys showed students had increase of knowledge and awareness. Clarise is a senior at C. Leon King High School and plans to major in accounting at the University of North Florida.

Chelsea S., Ocala

After personally witnessing the challenges children with autism face on a daily basis, Chelsea realized these children need adaptive ways to communicate with others. For her project Communicating with Autism, Chelsea designed visual schedules and file folder games in order to make these challenges less difficult.  She developed a step by step video on how to make visual schedules and put together clipart resources for teachers at local schools to utilize in making visual schedules for their students. Chelsea is a senior at Forest High in Ocala and aspires to become a neuro surgeon.

Ella S., New Port Richey

Ella worked with therapists at Kids First Therapy Center to create the Star Reward Program for children attending therapy. She wanted to help special needs children get the most out of their therapy sessions and be on their best behavior by creating an incentive program.  Each session children will earn a star sticker, once they earned four stars they are able to choose an item from the prize box. As a result, therapists had better sessions with patients and spending less time dealing with poor behavior, patients were happier and some parents implemented the same system at home for homework and chores. Ella is a sophomore at River Ridge High School.

Want to learn more about the Girl Scout Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards? Click here to find out how you can make a difference in your community by earning one of these prestigious awards!