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Crystal Simmons
(713) 292-0321

Girl Scout starts reading effort to earn Gold Award

LAKE JACKSON, Texas (Jan. 27, 2011) – Girl Scout Ambassador Jillian A. built an eight-foot long bookshelf stocked with books and audio CDs for underprivileged children to earn the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

“I learned that on paper projects may seem small and tame, but once you try to put that into reality, you have to try and keep your cool and keep pressing on to the end,” says Jillian, a senior at Brazoswood High School.

Earning the Gold Award is a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement and personal development. It takes more than 100 service hours and two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project that is a service to the community.

“I enjoyed reading as a child and many of these children struggle with reading,” explains Jillian. “I wanted to spread my love of books and help them learn in the process.”

For her project, Jillian and about 18 volunteers spent eight hours building the shelves and 20 hours painting them with murals of wild life habitats. She also collected more than 200 Accelerated Reader books and spent more than 20 hours recording audio versions of the books. As a result of her efforts, children will be able to read along with the CD and have more opportunities to earn Accelerated Reader points for school.

“Jillian is an amazing young lady,” says Phil and Valerie Athey, Jillian’s parents. “She made her plan, worked out the details, obtained book donations and volunteers to make her Gold Award project a reality. I think she has realized she can effectively lead others to achieve a goal.”

As an active member of Girl Scouts, Jillian has earned her Silver and Bronze Awards. At Brazoswood High School, she was involved in National Honor Society, marching band, Interact Club and more. Following graduation, she plans to attend Texas A&M to study biomedical engineering.

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 72,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit

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