Local Girl Scouts’ service projects earn top award - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Local Girl Scouts’ service projects earn top award

May 10th, 2018 development
Local Girl Scouts’ service projects earn top award

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


Three local high school Girl Scouts proved their weight in gold when it comes to serving the community.

Elena Boyd, 18; Aleayah Hughes, 18; and Danielle Manella, 17, recently received the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award. The teens were among the 22 Girl Scouts that the Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council awarded with this honor.

Elena Boyd, 18, of Tempe is a senior at Chandler Preparatory Academy.

It is the greatest distinction a Girl Scout can receive, equivalent to a Boy Scout earning his Eagle rank.

In order to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout must create a project that will keep helping the community long after she has left. Often, Girl Scouts spend 18 to 24 months finishing their project.

Boyd, Hughes and Manella undertook diverse and unusual projects.

A senior at Chandler Preparatory Academy, Boyd, of Tempe, said she was “motivated by some things I observed about the blood drives at my school” when she made a video advising people on their blood iron levels.

“Lots of people got turned down for low iron, and they didn’t know how to raise their iron by any means other than taking iron supplements,” she said.

Boyd, a member of 1226, brought together a hematologist and a United Blood Services representative to make an informational video about how the foods people eat can boost their blood iron levels.

In her video, Boyd talked about low blood iron is often an issue for teenagers. She said people can eat such iron-rich foods as beef, turkey, lamb, shellfish, beans, tofu, lentils and peanuts to increase their iron levels.

Hughes, of Chandler, a Scout since age 7, said her project focused on helping families who have autistic children. Growing up, she learned about the problems parents face when taking care of children on the autism spectrum.

A senior at Primavera Online High School and Troop 841 member, she said, “A common theme I noticed is that parents of children with disabilities don’t always have access to all of the resources or accommodations for their child.”

“I wanted to give them an area where they can get informed about all of the different opportunities for their child,” Hughes said, adding:

“I also chose this idea because I felt that I’m not only supporting the parents but I’m supporting different companies that cater and assist people with disabilities.”

Aleayah Hughes, 18, of Chandler is a senior at Primavera Online High School.

She created a resource room for Head to Toe Therapy, a therapy clinic in Phoenix.

“It included a list of places that had accommodations for people with disabilities,” Hughes said. “I also had brochures of companies that offered many resources like health care, ramps, and sports.”

She also set up a bulletin board for the clinic to promote upcoming events and activities for their patients.

Hughes said, “I love the inclusiveness of Girl Scouts. I also love the amount of support and opportunity each girl is presented. Girl Scouts is an organization that can drastically change your path in life.”

Manella, of Chandler and a senior at Seton Catholic Preparatory, said she wanted to do something that “merged my passion for helping others in underserved areas with my love for soccer.”

A Girl Scout for 12 years, she explained, “When I was researching issues, I learned many aspiring soccer players around the world do not have access to soccer uniforms.

“As a soccer club player, I knew there was an excess of quality uniforms in Arizona since club members are required to buy new uniforms every two or three years. I also learned through my research that most soccer injury prevention videos focus on field players rather than goalkeepers. Having experienced a concussion at a young age, I wanted to create an instructional video to specifically help goalkeepers.”

Manella has been a goalkeeper on club soccer teams for the last eight years and plays now for an Arizona Arsenal club team.

She teamed up with San Tan Soccer Club to lead the collection of gently used soccer uniforms and helped deliver 190 jerseys and 93 shorts to Haiti through the EVS Smile Foundation, an organization in Haiti that aims to boost young girls’ self-esteem through sports.

“For the second part of my project, I led the creation of a globally accessible instructional video that teaches safety techniques and preventative measures to protect soccer goalkeepers from injury,” Manella said.

“I enjoyed several aspects of this project. The most memorable for me was when the founder of the EVS Smile Foundation sent me a video of the Haitian girls proudly and joyfully wearing the jerseys sent from Arizona.

“Soccer has been such a great part of my life. It’s wonderful to know the Haitian girls have enough multi-colored jerseys to form teams and play soccer for many years to come,” she added.

After earning Bronze and Silver Awards, Manella called her Gold Award project “a great personal achievement in which I learned how to lead a group of adult leaders to help impact the world.”

“Throughout the process, I encountered many legal, resource, and technical obstacles, but persevered to reach my end goal, teaching me vital leadership and project management skills. I learned the importance of communicating effectively, finding passionate group members and persevering,” she said.

“The leadership and project management skills I have learned through earning my Gold Award will most definitely help me as I begin my college journey as a nursing student next year.”

Manella’s video is accessible through YouTube and her website, goalkeepersafety.wordpress.com.

Information: girlscoutsaz.org.