Girl Scout increases awareness of organ donation to earn Gold Award
Houston – Girl Scout Jennifer B. helped increase awareness of organ donation in the African American community 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 I am really passionate about increasing the number of registered organ donors within my race as well as within the state of Texas because only four percent of the state's population is registered," said Jennifer, a graduate of Episcopal High School. "I also learned that I am good at creating and presenting to large groups of people, and I have strong leadership skills that I was able to demonstrate in getting this project completed."
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 chose this project because it focuses on my community, and I want to inspire people to give in order to save lives," said Jennifer. "I went to a National Youth Leadership Forum of Medicine where I met an African American male who was the recipient of a kidney donation. I also met a 13-year-old boy waiting to receive a transplant in December 2009. Both discussed the low percentage of participation in African Americans."
Jennifer began her project by doing research and interviewing doctors, nurses and representatives at Gift of Life, an organ donation nonprofit. With the information she collected in these interviews, she created a PowerPoint presentation and pamphlet on organ donation to hand out at her organ donation presentations. She hosted eight presentations and was able to register 42 new organ donors.
"Jennifer learned a lot about accountability," says Shirley B., Jennifer’s mother. "I believe she found that organizing people was not an easy task and that leadership was not just organizing. Jennifer was forced to stay on-task because she had to respect the schedules of the volunteers, which got to be very tight at times."
At Episcopal High School, Jennifer was a member of basketball, color guard and manager of the girls lacrosse team. She received awards for "Most Improved" in basketball and "Most Outstanding" in color guard. She current attends the University of Texas at Austin and is studying biomedical engineering. She hopes to continue on to medical school to become a pediatrician.
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 70,000 girl members and 19,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit www.gssjc.org.
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