Congratulations on your achievement, Shivani!
Shivani T. was one of three Gold Award Girl Scouts nominated this year by the Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey to become a National Gold Award Girl Scout. Every year, ten exceptionally inspiring Gold Award Girl Scouts are chosen as National Gold Award Girl Scouts by GSUSA.
This honor is given to Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. These young women are taking matters into their own hands, generating much-needed change!
1. What was the name and purpose of your Gold Award project?
My Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Say Cheese!” taught children, ages 3-8, about oral health. Dental hygiene is not as emphasized in the school community as general hygiene is, leaving students more susceptible to oral diseases. With my project, I aimed to raise awareness to young children in rural India as well as in the United States about the importance of proper dental hygiene to keep themselves healthy.
2. What sustainable impact did your Gold Award project have on the community?
My Gold Award project was sustained through the use of handouts that I made as well as donation packages that were given to the children. My handouts included a review of the good and bad foods for your teeth, an overview of what I presented, and a coloring page on how to floss. This gave the children an opportunity to reflect on what they learned and to reference in their daily lives. I also gave toothbrushes and floss to the children for them to practice what I taught them even after I left. Additionally, I supplied each student and teacher with a link to a website that I created in order to share my information. While all of these tools were for temporary sustainability, I was able to add dental hygiene to each school’s curriculum in order to ensure that my lessons will be taught in future years. I provided the teachers with the information necessary to continue teaching, and I have been following up with the different schools that I presented to so they would be reminded to continue to take care of their oral health.
3. What insights/takeaway did you gain from your project?
The top three skills that I gained from my Gold Award experience were confidence, public speaking, and organization. By the end of my presentations, I was able to speak confidently in front of large groups of 150 students in one sitting. Also, especially since my presentations required lots of equipment and props, I had to learn to be organized to create a successful presentation.
4. What Is your favorite memory of completing your Gold Award project?
My favorite memory of completing my Gold Award project was when some of the children came up to me after my presentation to show off what I taught them during my presentation and how they remembered it. Hearing the children teach others showed me that they understood my topic and felt knowledgeable enough to teach others. When every child was able to share a new fact about dental hygiene, I felt that my project was a success. I was very fortunate to be able to reach a total of 500 students.
5. Anything else you'd like to share?
I would like to thank Girl Scouts, Hoffmann Pediatric Dentistry, the Petits Enfants School, the world-renowned Gandhi Ashram, the Nalanda English Medium School, and the Aditya English Medium School for their gracious support of my Gold Award project. Volunteering is an opportunity that I believe everyone should participate in and is one of the most fulfilling experiences for me.