Garden City, NY July 9, 2012 – 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 Julie Fithian, Jacqueline Nuñez, Courtney Wright, Kelly O’Leary, Allison Rattoballi and Alexa Telano of Bellmore 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 Nassau 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.”
Julie Fithian saw the importance of informing people about the difference between an animal that is hurt or abandoned and an animal that is just living in the neighborhood. For her Gold Award project, she prepared and distributed a leaflet that outlined the most common animals and behaviors and gave advice at a community fair about how these animals should be approached. Ms. Fithian recently graduated from W. H. Mepham High School, where she was on the volleyball and lacrosse teams and was a member of the drama club. She is also a member of her church choir and is a wildlife rehabilitator. She will attend Stony Brook University in the fall, where she plans to major in marine vertebrate biology.
Jacqueline Nuñez and Courtney Wright wanted to increase their community’s awareness of composting and its benefits. The girls teamed up for their Gold Award project that focused on the Town of Hempstead’s Marine Nature Study Area. They built and installed a 3-bin compost structure for the site, which will help enrich the soil and grow healthier plants. The girls also researched and created educational flyers, YouTube videos and a PowerPoint presentation about composting. Ms. Nuñez is a junior at W.C. Mepham High School, where she is a member of the Drama Club’s stage crew. Outside of school, she volunteers for HorseAbility and is an active member of her church. Ms. Wright is also a junior at W.C. Mepham High School, where she is a member of the Drama Club’s stage crew and is in the art club and photography club. She also works as a Camp Aide at GSNC’s Summer Fun Day Camp and volunteers at Camp HorseAbility.
Kelly O’Leary used her Gold Award project to inform and educate her community about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. She conducted a series of informational seminars for teens and adults, which included facts presented through a PowerPoint presentation, as well as personal stories of those affected by this issue. The seminars also included different strategies for coping with addictions and how to stay “above the influence”. Ms. O’Leary recently graduated from W.C. Mepham High School, where she was a member of the chorus and vocal jazz club. She also performed at Open Mic Night and in the Talent Show. She plans to attend Nassau Community College in the fall.
Allison Rattoballi’s Gold Award project used geocaching to spread awareness of Girl Scouting and to promote a cleaner environment. She created caches and put them in locations around Long Island, which would educate those who found them about Girl Scouting, while also encouraging them to preserve their local environment. She posted her caches on geocaching.com, so that others could have fun locating them. Ms. Rattoballi recently graduated from W.C. Mepham High School, where she was a member of A World of Difference club and Habitat for Humanity club. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. She plans to attend LIU Post in the fall.
Alexa Telano wanted to make a difference in the world by tackling the issue of pollution. For her Gold Award project, she recruited a group of volunteers to clean a local park and lake. To recruit those volunteers, she spoke to various clubs at her school and to fellow Girl Scouts. By raising their awareness of the problem, Ms. Telano was able to make a change that will continue beyond her Gold Award project. She recently graduated from W. C. Mepham High School, where she was in the Art Honor Society, Art Service Club, and the literary club. She is a runner, enjoys photography and drawing, and advocates for animal rights. Ms. Telano will attend Pratt Institute in the fall.
On June 12th 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 Garden City. In addition to the Girl Scout ceremony, on June 21st, 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 Ms. 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.
Girl Scouts of Nassau County builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouting in Nassau County creates an accepting and nurturing environment, which gives girls a chance to build character and develops leadership skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. With almost 21,000 girl and 7,000 adult members, Girl Scouts of Nassau County has become the preeminent organization and leading authority for girls. The organization, now in its 100th year, continues to make the world a better place one girl at a time.
For more information on the Girl Scouts of Nassau County call Donna Rivera Downey 516 741-2550 at ext. 260, or visit www.gsnc.org.
# # #