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Volunteer Highlights

Volunteer Nov 2017

Joanne Hamza

Can you tell us about your experience with Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ?

I have been a leader since 2009. I began when my daughter was in her 2nd year of Daisy's. I had no intention of becoming a leader, however there were no openings in any troops available and a friend of mine talked me into it (Neveen Sakr).

It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far. Being a GS Leader opened so many doors and opportunities for both my daughter and I that I know I would've never experienced, had we not become involved with GS. It also gave us the opportunity to form so many friendships with good, caring, and just wonderful women. I was lucky to have a troop of 12 girls and outstanding parents that were always available and offered support at any and all times! I had an amazing co-leader for about 4 years (Neveen Sakr), and for the other 4 years had another amazing co-leader (Monica Mody). I truly was the lucky one because these two women are just treasures to have in your life. Always there, always supportive and always trying to make the world a better place.

Through Girl Scouts, we were able to be a part of so many “give back” opportunities such as: Project Linus, Shells for Sandy, One Warm Coat, Earth Day Clean Up, Adopt a Family, The Hunger Van, Snowflakes for Sandy Hook, and many other organizations that help those in need.

Girl Scouts gave opportunities to my daughter - to go from having no confidence to picking up the phone and calling all my contacts and asking "Would you like to buy a box of cookies to support Girl Scouts?" That confidence then filtered into her relationships with friends, school, family and has truly made her a girl with courage, confidence and character.

Last year we disbanded, and my daughter is now a Juliette and I have taken on a different role as SUM of Central & Southern NJ. It is a different now working more with the leaders, but I am excited to embrace it and look forward to this new chapter. 

 

Why do you choose to invest your time in Girl Scouts?

The best investment we can truly make is in our daughters. They will one day be mothers and so many values are embedded in a lot of the activities and events that GS has to offer. These are the things that they will remember. “The time when this”....or “the time when that”... Those are the stories I hope my daughter one day passes on to her children.

 

What impact does volunteering with Girl Scouts have on your life?

I have one motto I live by, "If you can do good, you should." Plain and simple. Any opportunity that arises that I am able to contribute in anyway, I try to do it. I believe in Karma... I believe in what goes around comes around and I believe that “to give with no expectation in return” is a gift in itself. Through volunteering, whether it is with GS, or the PTO or in the community, I have met some amazing people along the way and feel that it has been an added blessing to my life.

 

Can you share your most memorable Girl Scout story with us?

My most memorable Girl Scout story was at Oak Spring Campground in the cabin. My troop and co-leader and a parent had taken the girls "camping" to work on a Journey. We were discussing how we all come from different backgrounds and how important it was to not only respect one another for each individual’s unique beliefs, but to unit together and stand up for what is right.

I wear a hijab and had brought some scarfs on our trip. All the girls then decided to put scarfs on their head as well.  It really is a moment that stands out to me. I felt that the girls really got it, and hopefully will take that message with them throughout their lives.

I think that every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout at some point in her life. If a troop is not available, then make one. Yes, it does require time and effort on the mom's part but there is so much support and love in this organization that it truly is worth every second! Once a Girl Scout always a Girl Scout.