Media Contact: Mona Tolbert
Local Girl Scout collects donations, produces video on Children of the Dump - Beads for Hope project to earn Gold Award
Houston, TX - Girl Scout Maureen F. collected supplies and wrote, directed and produced a video on Rotary International's Children of the Dump - Beads for Hope project in Chinandega, Nicaragua to earn Girl Scouts of the USA's Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.
"I learned that extreme poverty was beyond anything I had ever imagined," said Maureen, a 2012 graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. "It probably wasn't until I was showing the video for the first time that I realized how good I felt about volunteering for this project."
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 looked for a project for two years before being introduced to Rotarian Frank Huezo," said Maureen. "He told me about Chinandega, and I was caught up in his dream to create a jewelry project [for the resident to gain economic stability]. Initially, my focus was on getting volunteers to contribute supplies, but before the end of our conversation, Frank asked for my thoughts on how to publicize this, and I realized my voice-over training and love of documentaries could make this work."
For her project, Maureen collected jewelry making supplies and monetary donations to purchase supplies from members of her community. More than $700 was donated to purchase supplies that would be given to Chinandega residents to make jewelry they could sell. By donating the supplies, Maureen and Rotary International members hoped to give Chinandega residents financial stability to work towards a better life.
Maureen also traveled to Nicaragua where she directed, produced, edited and narrated a video showing the contrast between the tragedy of children working in the dump and those who are learning a new skill that will change their futures. Rotary International is using the video to market their bead crafts, and Maureen made several presentations to area Girl Scout troops, Rotary Clubs and more during the late summer and fall of 2011.
"At the beginning I admit to not having any idea where Maureen was going with the video," said Kathy F., Maureen’s mother. "She kept telling me to trust her since the entire story was in her head. Maureen really did have the story in her head and was absolutely determined to create her vision of the story and get the voice-over just right. After the video was completed, she started realizing how big this project had become and the response from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive."
Maureen was a member of Girl Scouts for 12 years and earned her Bronze and Silver Awards. She also earned the Spirit Alive Medal from the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston, was a member of girl planning boards and volunteered at the 52nd National Convention held in Houston in November 2011.
At the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Maureen was a member of Radio PVA, student council, thespian society, National Honor Society and founded the school’s chess club. This fall she plans to attend college to study interactive games studies and film.
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