Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00
While some high schools now require a few hours of community service for graduation, none go as far as the Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award. This year Sabrina Carrieri, Deanna Lavelle, Victoria Lorig, Heather McSherry, Gabrielle Messina, Elizabeth Shields and Ashley Zizzo of Farmingdale join the record number of 121 Girl Scouts in Nassau County that have woven a minimum of 80 hours of community service into their busy schedules. These young women developed Gold Award community action projects that address social issues in their community or promote acts of kindness and goodwill throughout the county. Their efforts earned these girls the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor that a young woman can achieve in Girl Scouting.
“We are so proud of all the young women who earned their Girl Scout Gold Award this year,” said Donna Ceravolo, executive director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Through their projects, these women have changed the lives of others and improved their communities in significant ways. We couldn’t be happier that 121 girls chose to take this rigorous path towards earning their Gold Award and succeeded in accomplishing their goals.”
Sabrina Carrieri’s Gold Award project, “I Like Who I Am,” was designed to build self-esteem and self-confidence in girls, ages 9 to 14, in an effort to prevent bullying. By sharing stories of bullying experiences and hands-on activities, she sought to empower the girls who attended. She also created and distributed a packet of resources for girls and their parents to help them better deal with bullying. Carrieri graduated from Farmingdale High School in 2011, where she was a member of the Dalerette kick line team, the National Honor Society, and the Italian Honor Society. She recently completed her freshman year at Molloy College where she is a member of the American Red Cross Club, the education club, and the Italian Society.
Deanna Lavelle’s Gold Award project was aimed at girls in fourth through eighth grade and was designed to boost their self-esteem through the dramatic arts. In her workshops, she taught the girls acting exercises that promoted self-expression. She also taught activities that required the use of emotion and teamwork. As a result, the students learned how to better deal with stress, to be themselves, and to be open with their feelings. Lavelle recently graduated from Plainedge Senior High School, where she was a member of the drama club and choir. She was also in the Tri-M music honor society, and worked on the staff of Ventures literary magazine. Her plans for the fall are undecided.
Victoria Lorig wanted to help those in her community who are struggling to enter the job market. For her Gold Award project, she worked with Nassau County’s department of social services, where she created an organized, well-stocked “store” of career clothing. Lorig conducted a series of clothing drives and brought the donated items to the site. She also created a floor plan and procedure guide to help future volunteers or staff, who will be working in the shop. Lorig graduated from Farmingdale High School in 2011 and recently completed her freshman year at Nassau Community College. She was an intern at the child study lab.
Heather McSherry’s Gold Award project brought together the community, musicians, high school students and a local food bank to address the issue of hunger on Long Island. She organized a concert, which had an admission price of an item of food. At the concert, McSherry presented information about hunger to further educate the students who attended. She also ensured that the work would continue in the future by arranging food drives at her school.
McSherry recently graduated from Plainedge High School, where she was a member of the FIRST Robotics club, the National Honor Society, and honor societies for math, English, and science. Outside of school, she mentored altar servers at her church and was in an engineering program at Northrop Grumman. She plans to study biomedical engineering at Tufts University in the fall.
Gabrielle Messina used her Gold Award project to educate her community about cancer. She researched the topic and created an event that presented the information in a variety of ways. After reaching out to various cancer societies, she was able to create seven stations, which allowed her attendees to learn about everything from how to avoid skin cancer to the importance of avoiding tobacco products. Messina recently graduated from Plainedge High School, where she was a peer mentor and a member of the international club and the yearbook club. She was also a member of the Tri-M music honor society and an active member of St. Luke’s Church. She plans to attend LIU Post in the fall.
Elizabeth Shields’ Gold Award project improved the appearance and the safety of the grounds at her local elementary school. The roots of a large tree were protruding above ground, which created a safety hazard for children playing in the area. Shields connected with local gardeners for design help and advice and then put her plan into action. She planted an attractive garden for the students, parents and teachers to enjoy for years to come. Shields graduated from Farmingdale High School in 2011, where she was on the soccer, volleyball and badminton teams. She currently attends Suffolk Community College. Outside of school, she plays on the Suffolk Inter-League Soccer team, is on a beach volleyball team and is president of Venture Crew 46.
Ashley Zizzo has spent many hours volunteering for HorseAbility, a program that gives children with special needs the chance to participate in a therapeutic horseback riding program. For her Gold Award project, she wanted to raise awareness of their work in the community. Zizzo held a carnival event and by bringing people together for a day of fun, she was able to educate them about the work of HorseAbility and bring in a new group of volunteers and clients for the program. Zizzo recently graduated from Holy Trinity High School, where she was on the varsity kick line and a member of student council, volunteer club, the band and the National Honor Society. She will attend Hartwick College in the fall.
On June 12 the Girl Scouts of Nassau County honored Girl Scouts Seniors and Ambassadors between the ages of 15 and 18 at a special ceremony held at Adelphi University. In addition to the Girl Scout ceremony, on June 21, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will present the girls, along with their Eagle Scout counterparts from Boy Scouts, with certificates for their achievements at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative Chamber in Mineola. Town of Hempstead Supervisor also honored Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and Eagle Scouts on June 3rd in an event at Levy Preserve.
“Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients are ambitious and dedicated individuals with strong time management and organizational skills. They have joined an elite group of American women, who are part of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award Alliance,” said Ceravolo.
The Gold Award project helps high school-aged Girl Scouts develop leadership skills and explore various career paths. Overall, the Gold Awards require up to a three-year commitment from each young woman. It affords the teen the opportunity to learn about arts and humanities, cultural and global relations, personal well-being, technology and science, environmental concerns and many of the innumerable issues facing young women and the world today.