Chandler Girl Scout honored for mental health project - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Girl Scout honored for mental health project

September 15th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler Girl Scout honored for mental health project

By Justin Liggin

As a Girl Scout and aspiring psychologist, Falak Asif set off to make a difference in her community by raising awareness of mental health and ended up also gaining a head start on her future career and the highest honor in the Girl Scouts organization, a Gold Award.

When searching for ideas for her Gold Award project, Falak, while a student of Arizona Cultural Academy & College Prep, wanted to make a direct impact in the lives of her classmates and personal friends by taking on a topic that often goes unaddressed.

“My project topic is important to me as it relates to what I have seen a close friend experience first-hand. Mental health is not addressed as much as it should be and making mental health the base of my project enabled me to really understand, learn and teach healthy ways to cope,” she explained.

With this in mind, Falak created Cubs’ Den, a fully supervised space on the school’s campus designated for students to engage in healthy activities when feeling stressed, sad or anxious.

Offering de-stress toys, calming puzzles, books and a punching bag to release emotions, the Cubs’ Den is decorated with calming wall art and comfortable seating for up to five students at a time.

Upon creating Cubs’ Den and briefing students on the purpose of the room and expectations for them to follow, Falak noticed the immense impact the space had for students on campus.

“Once I showed students the best way to utilize the room and surveyed them after my presentation, I overheard and witnessed students using the room exactly as I envisioned,” she said.

“I was able to impact more than 100 students in grades 8 through 12.”

Originally given a smaller room on campus for Cubs’ Den, a sudden location change to a larger classroom required Falak to pivot and reevaluate her project.

Despite this, she came up with solutions and lead her team to success.

Receiving funding from the Muslim Outreach Volunteer Enterprise, Falak furnished the Cubs’ Den and provided the proper tools to relieve students.

In addition, she collaborated with a local Walmart to bring her vision of Cubs’ Den to life, reaching out to a local Walmart manager to request paint donations. This paid off as the store supplied four gallons of paint to complete the space.

“I learned that I am good at decision-making, problem-solving and leadership. I was able to solve any problem I came across while delegating tasks and leading my team in creating this wonderful project,” Falak said.

A Girl Scout of over 10 years, Falak credits the organization for making an impact on her life and teaching her vital skills for her life experiences ahead.

“Through Girl Scouts I was able to gain a broader perspective and learn many life skills that I may have not learned otherwise. Girl Scouts taught me the skills I need to properly lead and execute projects, like Cubs’ Den,” she said.

Over the years, her excitement for the organization has remained just the same as it was when she was a little girl.

“Girl Scouts has always meant a lot to me,” she said. “The weekend events always gave me something to look forward to and I was excited to participate in something other than the usual everyday routine of school and studying.”

Regarded as the most prestigious award for Girl Scouts, Falak proved herself as a changemaker and innovator to earn the Gold Award.

By tackling an important issue in her community and creating long-lasting change, she also earned the opportunity to receive distinguished scholarships at the local and national level and stand out during the college admissions process.

Now graduated from high school, she looks forward to a future as a psychologist as she attends Arizona State University to pursue a degree in the field.