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Never underestimate the abilities of 17 entrepreneurial Girl Scouts to combine enthusiasm, teamwork, and persistence to successfully complete a service project this past December. The Willard Elementary fifth grade Girl Scout Troop 47027 organized, promoted, gathered, and delivered 65 bags of badly needed items for Collections for the Homeless. The girls chose that organization after hearing and being inspired by a presentation by some Evanston Township High School volunteers.
A reporter spoke to three of the scouts and their mothers recently to learn about the project. It was a fortuitous meeting, taking place during cookie-selling season, but they could not have been more gracious: Ann Marie Bell, one of three scout leaders, and her daughter Finnoula; Rachel Hanrahan and her daughter Maya; and Lori Kaiser and her daughter Evelyn. The girls described how they wrote and sent emails, and designed and delivered flyers to their friends, family members, and neighbors in their quest for specific items from Connections’ list. They were careful to make it easy for anyone participating to safely drop off donated items and leave them on a porch or in a bin near their respective front doors.
Everyone in the troop participated in some way, although not everyone gathered donations. When asked if there was a competition among the scouts to see who had gathered the most donations, they shrugged off that idea saying it was more important for the troop to work together, and that this wasn’t about any one person.
Items like packs of socks, underwear, soap, and toothbrushes were especially popular donation items, as were canned goods, snacks, and protein bars. Part of the appeal of Connections for the Homeless is their commitment to assisting families in transition. Connections was reportedly very impressed with the troop and especially grateful for the generosity of the 65 bags.
The troop tries to complete two or three service projects a year apart from field trips and work on badges, the leaders said, adding that meeting remotely has created some challenges..
The girls said one of the best things about the project was seeing the reactions from their neighbors. Everyone was happy to participate and told the girls how proud they were of them. Maya said, “It was making everybody’s day that we were reaching out and helping.”
To a reporter, this seemed proof positive that a little kindness can go a long way.