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Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass. earn Gold Awards for service projects

Posted by Laura Gomez  June 20, 2013 04:20 PM

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Girl Scouts of Eastern Mass. announced Thursday that 51 Girl Scouts have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award-- the highest recognition a member of the organization can achieve.

The award recognizes a service project within a girl's community that creates change and becomes ongoing while also portraying a girl's organizational, leadership, and networking skills. To earn the award, girls must complete the Silver Award and a minimum of 80 hours of service, according to a press release.

The awards were given in a ceremony on June 19 at the Marlborough Holiday Inn.

Here is a list of the girls and an explanation of their projects:

Emily Allard, Stoneham
Allard's project, Lindenwood Cemetery Visitors Project, helped visitors easily locate the cemetery plots of their friends and family. She replaced the street signs and poles and created a detailed map of the cemetery near the entrance. Smaller paper maps are also available for visitors to take with them.

Claire Bagnani, Chestnut Hill
Bagnani’s project, Elder Youth Connection, helps senior citizens who are living alone or lacking support systems. Children of Brookline regularly spent time with the elderly and provided assistance by grocery shopping and running errands. The partnership between elder housing communities and the youth of Brookline formed a strong bond among the two communities. The program, titled SHOP, will continue this relationship between the senior citizens and high school students.

Andrea Bourke, Kingston (she moved to Maryland but remained in her Kingston GS troop through Skype and other technology)
The Chesapeake Bay is one of the unhealthiest waterways in the world, due to human habitation, development, deforestation, overfishing and nutrient pollution. Bourke's project, Save the Bay, aimed to promote awareness for this regional issue and brought about change by educating others on how they can affect the problem. She worked with a school that bordered the bay to create a rain garden designed to catch rainwater off the roof of the building closest to the bay. The garden was 800 square feet and contained native plants. Bourke also created posters and brochures to educate others on how to keep the bay clean. The EcoClub at the school will maintain the garden.

Meckila Britt, Ashland
Britt's project, One Skein of Yarn, helped bridge the gap between generations through knitting and crocheting. She managed a group of individuals, ages 10 to 101, who spent time together learning to knit and crochet. The group made hats, scarves, and mittens for the homeless. In December, they assembled their projects into gift baskets that were delivered to a local family shelter. They also provided a basket of home-baked goodies for the shelter staff. The group continues to meet and make additional items for other shelters.

Emily Buckley, Canton
Buckley's high school requires that each student complete 20 hours of community service. The only source of these opportunities is through the Career Center website, which was not maintained properly and needed to be updated with more current and diverse opportunities. Buckley's project, Career Center Website Rehabilitation, provides easy access to information on local nonprofit organizations, as well as organizations outside the community, offering students more diverse service opportunities to choose from. Members of the school's chapter of the National Honor Society will update the website annually.

Rachel Cabitt, Rowley
Cabitt's project, Painting History, combined art and history to educate the community about the town's history. She painted a mural in the town hall and held workshops in the library to share the historical aspects depicted in the mural. She then had participants express what they learned artistically.

Kathryn Chiffer, Topsfield
Chiffer's project, Project Lunchbox: Let's Eat!, educates elementary school students and their families about the link between healthy eating and positive school performance. She taught multi-generational nutrition and cooking classes, which included reading labels and understanding marketing strategies used by manufacturers. She maintains a blog to educate the wider community about the importance of healthy eating and writes a weekly column in her school's newsletter. Chiffer also convinced the school cafeteria to add one of her healthy recipes to the menu. Her school will continue to support her endeavors by applying for a grant to fund an expansion of her program.\

Arianne Chipman, Hingham
Chipman's project, Green Thumbs Gardening, teaches local elementary school students the value of growing local produce and supporting local farms. She helped them plant a garden that was maintained over summer break by students and their families. An autumn harvest was shared by the school community, allowing for cost savings on the school's produce. The school will be continuing this program.

Jennifer Crawford, North Reading
Crawford's project, Interfaith Leadership Summit, addresses religious intolerance. Through the summit and a video documentary, she educated local youth groups about different faiths and encouraged them to teach others what they learned. High school students from the area participated in workshops on diversity, acceptance, tolerance, religious pluralism and identities. Crawford's church youth group plans on making this an annual event.

Danielle Davies, Boxford
For over 15 years, the Boxford Town Library has been in poor condition, with limited storage and very little usable space for programs and activities. Davies' project, Boxford Library Rescue, gave the library a much needed update and reorganized the library's storage space. Davies worked with volunteers to clean out the library barn, providing the library with more storage and better access to materials stored there. In addition, they reorganized and repainted the current space, giving the library a fresh look and more space for community programs and events. The Friends of the Library have agreed to maintain the storage space.

Jessica Desmond, Chelmsford
Women and children are often victims of violence and do not know how to protect themselves. Desmond's project, A Fighting Chance, collaborated with self-defense instructors and local police officers to provide workshops on basic self-defense, while also educating participants on laws related to domestic violence and rape. She created a video to be used by her dojo, which has decided to run a six-week course on self-defense for women and girls.

Emily Doucette, Maynard
Doucette's project, Organizing for the Future of the Choral Program, organized her school's choral collection based on music type, artist, and title. Doucette created a log documenting resources and a new storage system that holds more music, and updated file cabinets with new paint. She also created a Guide to Being a Chorus Librarian to ensure that her new organized system would be maintained. She utilized Facebook and a blog to recruit volunteers.

Elizabeth Driver, Topsfield
Driver's project, Read, Reinforce, Reach Out, provided supplemental materials for classrooms with autistic students. She assembled binders containing literacy materials and activities that reinforce concepts taught in classroom books. Driver created two displays, one aimed at adults and the other toward children, at the local library to educate the public about autism. She also visited some elementary classrooms to emphasize the importance of understanding autism and inclusion.

Jazmin Eltoury, Quincy
Eltoury's project, Creating a Safe Environment for Youth in Town, provides the children in her community safe opportunities to participate in outdoor activities on a regular basis. She started a teen group that met regularly at the local sportsman club. She also created an instructional video to teach the fundamentals of archery and help parents get their children involved in archery and outdoor activities in a safe environment.

Claire Faddis, Boxford
Faddis' project, Water Conservation Education and Promotion, promotes water conservation through education. Faddis worked with second graders in her community, educating them about wasting water and the important role water plays in their daily lives through classroom activities. Students now conserve water by turning off the water when brushing their teeth and checking for leaking faucets. She also taught adults in the community about using rain barrels to capture water, which can be used to water gardens and lawns. She wrote numerous articles on rain barrel usage for the local paper and created a website which will continue the education process.

Caitlin Fitzmaurice, Scituate
Fitzmaurice's project, A Child's Sanctuary: Go Green for Marine Life, brings community awareness to marine biodiversity and teaches the community to protect this special habitat. She ran two events for families that held a number of interactive, fun and educational activities about marine life and the harmful effects humans can cause. She worked closely with NOAA/Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and trained their volunteers, who will continue to provide Fitzmaurice's workshops to the community.

Colleen Fitzpatrick, North Reading
Fitzpatrick's project, Parish Park Rededication and Cleanup, constructed a memorial garden in North Reading's Parish Park to honor the town's veterans. She, along with volunteers, created a beautiful, reflective space where townspeople can remember and appreciate the veterans. Upon completion, Fitzpatrick organized an event to honor the veterans and to dedicate the space to them.

Kiersten Flodman, Rowley
Flodman's project, Babies on the Go, gave access to developmental toys for families with new babies. She worked with community groups to gather supplies, make blankets, and assemble bags containing rattles, books, blankets and laminated cards explaining the importance of developmental play. Local physical and occupational therapists and service providers distributed the bags to their patients.

Alicia Healey, Canton
Healey's project, Mission Pet Safe, is an educational campaign for pet owners. The campaign addressed pet safety, including accidental poisoning, car accidents, proper restraint practices, pet first-aid kits and heat-related deaths from dogs left in cars. Healy, with the help of volunteers, created bookmarks, a traveling display, first-aid kits, brochures and puzzles for preschoolers. She gave presentations at the library and the middle school and high school. She also wrote an article for the newspaper, shared the information on global websites, and created a website and blog.

Emma Holland, Hingham
Holland's project, Sounds of the Past, involved working with fellow student musicians to compile and bring back historical 19th-century American music to the town's historical society. She researched, transcribed and learned the music with help from her fellow musicians. The group recorded the music, which is now available for use by the historical society and can be found on YouTube. They also held a live performance of the music for the local elementary school. To view her project blog, visit

Caroline Hultin, Sudbury
Hultin's project, Up and Out for Gold 2012, addresses homelessness. She worked with Heading Home, a nonprofit that provides emergency, transitional, and permanent housing to low-income homeless and formerly homeless families. Hultin, with the help of volunteers, furnished and cleaned an apartment for a homeless family. She also recruited younger Girl Scout troops to collaborate with Heading Home to set up additional homes.

Anna Krah, Medfield
Krah’s project, Coexisting Cultures, expanded cultural education in her community. She created a Chinese Club at Medfield High School and introduced the plight of people in Nicaragua to children in the third grade. As a result of their experiences, high school students expressed greater interest in a Chinese exchange program and the third graders gained a better understanding of the global impact of community service.

Danielle Lapierre, Chelmsford
After being used by the community for years, the Lady of Fatima statue at St. Mary's Church has become overgrown and inaccessible. Lapierre's project, Create St. Mary Parish Marian Grotto, involved designing and building a beautiful grotto with the help of many volunteers. The newly transformed space is now a place where the community can meditate, reflect or pray. A dedicated group of parishioners will maintain the area and already plan to add a waterfall feature.

Katherine LaScaleia, Sudbury
LaScaleia’s project, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Reducing Idling in the Community of Sudbury, educates both youth and adults about the environmental, economic and health hazards of idling. She ran a bike rally to inspire children to ride their bikes while also teaching them about the dangers of idling. She used various methods to bring awareness, such as writing a series of articles for the newspaper on the hazards of idling and created a website where people can take a pledge to reduce their idling.

Whitney Ligonde, Dedham
Ligonde's project, Educational Inequality, organized high school students to tutor younger students one-on-one through the middle school's homework club. Working with school staff, she changed the policy that only National Honor Society students were allowed to tutor middle school students. She worked with the math department to train the tutors and develop a curriculum. Her high school will continue her work by making this an official club.

Christina Liotti, Danvers
Liotti's project, Seniors on the Move, aims to inspire senior citizens to become more active. With the new Danvers Rail Trail in mind, she created a club called Walk with the Seniors. Students from her school walked with seniors as a group, giving them a sense of security and the option of assistance if needed. Her high school has made this an official community service option for students.

Anne LoVerso, Southborough
LoVerso’s project, Childhood Health and Fitness through Circus Arts, addresses childhood obesity and the lack of childhood health and fitness. She worked with a local circus school to develop a static trapeze curriculum with step-by-step instructions for tricks, spotting, warm-up exercises and conditioning. She, along with a team of volunteers, held a workshop for 4th and 5th graders to share circus activities and provided information on healthy eating at a large community event. Her curriculum will be used by gym teachers in elementary schools. The National Honor Society has also agreed to hold a fitness booth at their opening day event.

Alison McDermott, Hingham
McDermott's project, Teens Teach Technology, helps senior citizens feel more comfortable with using technology. She and her peer volunteers provided workshops on Skype, Twitter and Facebook. The senior citizens are now able to connect with family overseas, reconnect with old classmates and share photos with loved ones. McDermott created a binder and PowerPoint presentation for future workshop leaders.

Samantha McGoldrick, North Reading
McGoldrick's project, Raised Beds for North Reading Food Pantry, involved creating and maintaining four raised garden beds behind the food pantry building. These gardens help supply the North Reading Food Pantry with fresh fruits and vegetables to serve families. The local garden club has agreed to care for the gardens and will donate plants to keep the project going.

Molly McGowan, Waltham
McGowan’s project, The Imagination Station, addresses the lack of imaginative play present in many children’s hospitals. For a hospital play room, she created a cabinet that is filled with imaginative play toys and that can be accessed 24/7 by children and their families. She worked closely with a Child Life Specialist to determine appropriate activities for hospitalized children of all ages. McGowan created a committee of volunteers who will maintain the imagination station.

Jessica Merritt, Pembroke
Merritt's project, Water Safety, brought community awareness to drowning and how it can be prevented. She created informative and interactive activity stations that included open water education and CPR demonstrations. In addition, she created a binder with all the information needed to continue this awareness program, which the town landing chairman has agreed to do.

Melissa Moody, Newton
Moody’s project, Wetlands: The Final Frontier, brought community awareness to the local wetlands. She worked with DCR officials and local volunteers to install informational posts throughout the Charles River Wetlands. Each post has a QR code that visitors can scan with their smart phones. The code directs them to a website ( with information about that particular part of the wetlands.

Katelin Oberlander, West Yarmouth
Oberlander's project, Mini Clinic for Field Hockey, gives younger girls a better understanding of field hockey before they enter high school. She held field hockey clinics where girls practiced the sport, learned to work as a team, enjoyed exercise and learned about proper nutrition to keep their bodies fueled.

Leda Olia, Newton
Olia’s project, Will Run for Fun, introduced elementary school children to long-distance running to promote enthusiasm for the sport at a younger age. She created an afterschool long-distance running program and employed high school volunteers. She also produced a handbook, which will be used by future volunteers to continue the program.

Ann Pastorello, Tewksbury
Pastorello's project, Operation Blanket, helps educate the community about animal shelters and animal adoption. She worked with local children and members of the senior center to create blankets and treats for cats at the MSPCA shelter. Pastorello created a PowerPoint presentation and flyer that she shared at various workshops. She also made a YouTube video demonstrating how to make the blankets.

Hannah Peternell, Westford
Peternell's project, New Student Protocol, creates a welcome program for new students at Westford Academy. She designed an infrastructure of support, such as welcome phone calls to new students, invitations to a new student orientation banquet and appointing peer counselors to show new students around, to help ease their transition into a new school. The program will be continued by the school's guidance staff and peer counselor group.

Samantha Rizzo, Canton
A can is recycled in 6 weeks, but takes hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill. Rizzo raised public awareness about the need to recycle through her project, Recycling Receptacles. She gave a presentation to her local Board of Selectmen to show why the town needed public recycling receptacles and explained the costs between different types of receptacles. She made a public service announcement on recycling, which will air annually on Canton Community Television. Rizzo also created recycling stickers to encourage the public to use the new receptacles.

Kristina Ryan, Burlington
Ryan's project, Heartbeat Awareness Program, addressed teen pregnancy and provided support systems for teen moms. Ryan partnered with Heartbeat Pregnancy Health Center, a nonprofit organization that provides free resources to pregnant teens such as free ultrasounds, prenatal and infant care, counseling, and items needed for the baby. Ryan gave community presentations to teens and their families about the health center and the resources available. She also collected supplies for the teens and newborns that the organization will distribute.

Meredith Scheiring, Hingham
Feeling inspired to help teens who are newly diagnosed with diabetes, Scheiring's project, Diabetes Domain, created a website for those with diabetes. On the site, people can share inspirational and personal stories, advice, regrets, words of encouragement and information on developing technology for diabetic care. The College Diabetes Network will maintain the website:

Kristen Shevlin, North Reading
Shevlin's project, Backyard Gardens, addresses the issue of limited access to healthy foods. She worked with members of the community to build raised-bed gardens. Some fruits and vegetables are for community consumption while others are donations to the local food pantry. She also provided healthy recipes for the food pantry to hand out to patrons. A younger Girl Scout troop will continue her project.

Charlotte Skolnick, Pembroke
Skolnick's project, Self-Guided Historical Tours of Pembroke, provides the community with an interactive experience of the town's rich and interesting sites. She worked closely with the Pembroke library staff to develop accurate descriptions of the historical sites. With a team of volunteers, she created two walking routes and three driving routes through town. Skolnick held a kickoff event to introduce the walking tours to her community.

Gabriella Smith, Andover
Smith's project, Rediscovering Haggetts Pond Through Modern Technology, promotes the trails surrounding Andover's Haggetts Pond. She used modern technology to make the trail's information more accessible and appealing. Using GPS and cartography software, Smith created a detailed map of the area. She worked with volunteers to develop an informational website about Haggetts Pond as well as a kiosk displaying a QR code that brings smart phone users to the website.

Eliza Lily Snow, Hingham
Snow's project, Middle School Circle Club, is a club for middle-school children, with and without disabilities, to interact and socialize in a safe, judgment-free environment. The bi-monthly club focuses on the importance of inclusion and acceptance. The Circle Club helped to strengthen friendships and inspired members to participate in the high school's Best Buddies program. Students from the Best Buddies program will continue the Circle Club at the middle school.

Amelia Steeger, Medfield
Steeger’s project, Cranes for Change, created environmental educational clubs at the local afterschool program for children in grades 2–6. She also set up a monthly group at her church to explore topics like chemicals in body care products, recycling and repurposing materials, and growing organic foods. She worked in conjunction with Medfield Green to sponsor a Forever Green Family Night Out. Each participant created a paper crane to symbolize their pledge to help the environment. This event will be continued by Girl Scouts working on their Sow What? Journey.

Jennifer Sullivan, Wakefield
Sullivan's project, Replacing Missing House Numbers, addresses the issue of house numbers not being visible to emergency personnel. With the help of volunteers, she checked approximately 5,000 houses in Wakefield and notified owners that their house numbers were missing or not easily visible from the street. Sullivan worked with the local fire chief to send letters informing residents of the safety issue. A local hardware store offered a discount on the purchase of new house numbers if residents showed the letter. The local fire department will continue her crusade.

Samantha Traficante, Kingston
Traficante's project, Kiosk and Signage Maintenance at Open Spaces, brought public awareness to Kingston's conservation properties. The properties were run down and vandalized, and Traficante worked with a team of volunteers to clean up the properties and repair information kiosks. She also created map boxes to hold site maps at each location.

Katerina Tsoutsouras, Rowley
Tsoutsouras' project, Loving Literature: Helping Children Develop a Love of Books and Reading, addresses illiteracy by finding ways to motivate children to read more. She scheduled weekly book club sessions at the Ipswich Library and United Methodist Church for children ages 5 to 8. Volunteers offered reading sessions for different skill levels and time for crafts to further engage the children. When parents were surveyed, they expressed that the children were more interested in reading at home in their free time after attending the sessions.

Emily Van Laarhoven, Southborough
Families with children who have special needs have trouble finding qualified babysitters. In order to have child care they have to hire a specialist at $25-30 an hour, or rely on older siblings. This is often detrimental to the family dynamic and creates additional strain both financially and mentally on parents. Van Laarhoven’s project, Training Course for Babysitting Kids with Special Needs, trained volunteers to recognize and understand specific special needs diagnoses, creating a pool of knowledgeable and skilled babysitters at a reasonable rate.

Stephanie Wasiuk, Maynard
Wasiuk’s project, Music for the Future, organized the high school band’s music into an easy-to-use system, making resources easily available to students. She restored over 200 boxes of organized material, made note of missing pieces, and documented the contents. She also created a how-to manual for the system and a shelving unit to track music being returned and ensure its proper storage.

Laura White, Reading
White's project, Spreading Shakespeare, helped people appreciate Shakespeare by exposing them to his work. With the assistance of volunteers dressed in costumes from the 1500s, she held workshops for teens at the library's Teen Summer Reading program and worked with younger children at Camp Rice Moody. She also helped middle school students put on a performance of Twelfth Night. A recording of the performance and how-to videos can be found on YouTube.

Anna Willms, Wellesley
Willms' project, Preparing Children for an Eye Examination, addresses children's fear and anxiety concerning eye exams. She created a video and booklet to educate children on what an eye exam entails. The video and booklet have been given to Mass Eye and Ear and Children's Hospital to help alleviate their young patients' fears.

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