Columbia High School students Brigid Mack ’21 and Meghan Sambrook ’21 recently became Gold Award Girl Scouts, earning the most highly regarded award in the Girl Scouts. Both students completed projects to improve local communities through their passion and hard work.
Gold Award Project: COVID Sense
Ms. Mack worked with her community’s Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) to start an initiative to support children with special needs and their families in navigating the sudden changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this program, children receive a bag with sensory toys and social stories that Ms. Mack created. The social stories help kids understand and remember the rules of mask wearing and hand hygiene, as well as ways to use the sensory toys when they’re feeling frustrated or upset, in a fun and engaging way.
So far, 64 bags have been distributed, which support teachers and families in areas that include East Greenbush, Averill Park, Wynantskill, Green Island and more. This program will be continued by SEPTA.
Gold Award Project: Literacy Library
Ms. Sambrook took action to promote reading in her community by creating a literacy library at the Capital District Equal Opportunity Center, which serves adult learners who were unable to complete high school, often due to socioeconomic barriers or learning disabilities. These learners may not be supported adequately by public libraries because of frequent relocation, unpaid fines on their library cards for late returns, or limits on the amount of time books can be checked out. Ms. Sambrook started a partnership with the East Greenbush Community Library to ensure continued book donations, and so far the literacy library has received more than 300 books.
Ms. Sambrook included a comment box so that users can ask for the kinds of books that they and their families enjoy or find the most helpful. Teachers have noticed the books making their way into the classroom, including a sign language dictionary that students have been using to practice and learn sign language together!
Congratulations to both students!