Local Girl Scouts earn Silver Award by creating special projects

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Addressing activeness among seniors, beautifying gardens for pollinators, providing comfort to individuals battling cancer, creating sustainable solutions, and offering a safe place for people who are facing stress and anxiety are only a handful of the community
projects recently completed by 31 Girl Scouts from Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Representatives of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore presented the Silver Award to these girls during a drive-up ceremony on Nov. 18 at the organization’s Program Activity Center in Howell, according to a press release.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest honor for Girl Scouts in sixth through eighth grades. To earn the award, Girl Scouts must fulfill several requirements, including taking on a community project that makes a lasting impact. In the process, girls develop organization and leadership skills that benefit their community, according to the press release.

“Especially this year, we are truly proud of the impact our Silver Award Girl Scouts have made in their communities,” said Eileen M. Higgins, CEO, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “Collectively, they devoted over 1,500 hours toward making their communities a better place to live.”

The following young women were honored:

• Cyberbullying: Put to an End; Annika Bhatia, Morganville. Annika’s project was about spreading awareness about cyberbullying and its negative effects.

Through her project, she was able to educate many people about what cyberbullying is, how to prevent it, and what actions people can take against cyberbullying.

To spread awareness, she held workshops on scratch programming, arts and craft sessions with cyberbullying as the main theme. Her achievements include creating a website, writing blogs and getting hundreds of signatures on a pledge against cyberbullying.

Annika believes this project helped in developing her leadership, project management, collaboration, teamwork, presentation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

• Fashion Fun; Leah Bloom, Alexis Cedar, Kaitlyn Dipasquale and Jade Ivry. Manalapan.
Leah, Alexis, Kaitlyn and Jade wanted to create a fun experience for their Silver Award to help people feel good about themselves.

Their Silver Award, Fashion Fun, is a series of tutorials for the novice or professional to create a quick fashionable look that will make anyone feel good about themselves.

Each girl worked with their peers to see how they could inspire other girls. After receiving feedback from their peers, they created hair, nails and makeup tutorials to help anyone with their appearance and boost their confidence.

• Little Free Library; Emma Makin, Morganville. Emma’s Silver Award project aimed to help multiple communities through a Little Free Library. Her project included building three little free libraries, and painting and placing the libraries in Marlboro, Keyport and Neptune.

The little free libraries project gives people the opportunity to read books that are more accessible to them. Having the little free libraries gives everyone the chance to love reading because it gives them the chance to delve into stories. Little free libraries give people books to read and learn from, and to love and to imagine from.

• Pass and Play; Grace Andruzzi and Alexis Gafah, Manalapan. Grace and Alexis believe that Girls Scouts pay it forward and have used this as inspiration for their Silver Award.

Grace and Alexis created Pass and Play for their Silver Award as a social media group that allows individuals to pass their equipment to someone in need. Both girls have siblings who play in various activities and this was a direct solution to issues that affected not only their community, but their own families directly.

The girls created a system where any sports, dance or music equipment a family may not need can be passed to another family. They also believe this is an amazing way to engage young people in trying a multitude of activities, giving everyone the opportunity to try everything.

• Sunrise Dancing Project; Kristen Lau and Karina Shivlani, Marlboro and Morganville. For their Silver Award, Kristen and Karina created the Sunrise Dancing Project.

They created the Sunrise Senior Citizen Center Zumba Program with the goal of helping to keep seniors active and engaged in exercise by establishing a dance program for seniors in their care facility.

The girls used Zumba techniques to develop the dance program and modified the techniques to suit the abilities of senior citizens. The girls danced with the seniors weekly for an hour, months prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The girls also developed videos of Zumba dances and edited them for the seniors to keep and to use. The girls hope the Sunrise Senior Citizen Center Zumba Program helps seniors become happier and healthier in their life.

• What to Do When You’re SAD; Marilena Acosta, Adriana DiLorenzo and Sophia Newman, Manalapan and Marlboro. Everyone can feel stress, anxiety and depression in their life.

Marilena, Adriana and Sophia wanted to help children overcome these emotions while providing support and created their Silver Award, What to Do When You’re SAD.

The girls created tutorials on their social media pages and YouTube channel that give people specific ways they can cope and deal with these negative emotions and tools to help people realize there are other people who may feel similarly. These tutorials are aimed at students, but are free to everyone, according to the press release.