Steffi Andersen, Meredie Cohen, Nicole Orsak, and Isabella Rhyu have each completed the requirements for the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which they will officially receive on May 16. All four are in the fifth grade at Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park and members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 31959.
The Bronze Award, the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn, requires that the girls plan and lead a significant project that demonstrates commitment to the local community. The Troop 31959 Bronze Award Project focused on providing basic supplies to a school in a district adjacent to Menlo Park, but with much lower state funding. The girls organized and marketed a drive to collect school supplies and held events to raise additional funds for their project. They then organized and catalogued all the supplies and delivered them to the neighboring school. In total, they provided nearly $2,200 worth of supplies and gift cards.
Rhyu noted “before this project, we really didn’t understand how much we take having all our basic school necessities for granted.” Cohen agreed, saying “we all learned that there are schools very close to ours where kids have difficulty buying things like paper and pencils. And teachers don’t have all the things they need in their classrooms.”
All the girls were grateful for the support of the Oak Knoll community. Members of other school Girl Scout troops helped with the supplies drive at school. Andersen said that “we couldn’t have done this without the other girls and great support from Oak Knoll families. There were kids who used their allowance to buy supplies to donate to our project.” The project also received a very generous in-kind contribution from Office Depot in East Palo Alto.
The girls will become Cadette Girl Scouts as they begin sixth grade and will set their sights on the Silver Award, which requires even greater effort and time commitment. “We’re ready to start,” said Orsak, “Girl Scouts are all about leadership and community service and we’re all looking forward to getting even more involved.”