Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Green Bay Gold Award Earned Abroad

Wisconsin's Green Bay Press Gazette has a fantastic column by Jess Radke titled, "Girl Scouts make the world a better place". Although it's something everyone in Girl Scouting knows, Radke drives the point home with a wonderful Girl Scout example: Girl Scout Ambassador Nikhitha.

Nikhitha is a Girl Scout from the Girl Scout Council - Northwestern Great Lakes that truly lives the Girl Scout mission of making the world a better place. Last summer, she traveled to India with two goals in mind: to help a village in need, and to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Nikhitha’s project included organizing a health camp for residents of Pallampaakum, a rural Indian village. Her first step was to find contacts to get the project off the ground; she connected with two Rotary clubs in India and a nonprofit organization called the East West Foundation of India, and met an area doctor who assessed the villagers to find the most prevalent medical conditions.

“Some conditions were easy to fix, like skin infections from going barefoot. I found that the best thing was a preventative camp to show villagers how they can do easy things to make a lasting impact on their health,” Nikhitha said.

Nikhitha’s next step was to raise the necessary funds. Her main fundraiser was a raffle through her school’s student council. They contacted various businesses for donations - like Super Bowl XLV hopefuls the Green Bay Packers - which donated tickets, a high-selling item. She collected roughly half of the necessary financial resources through the fundraiser.

After the funding and materials were in place, Nikhitha left for Pallampaakum to prepare for the day-long camp. Each of the 203 attendees visited doctors: pediatricians, gynecologists and dentists, and everyone left with a care kit of slippers, mosquito nets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and medications that from her local drugstore that Pallampaakum residents do not have access to.

Nikhitha is applying for pre-medicine programs at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Chicago and Brown University, and intends to study neuroscience. Impressive.

Do you know anyone who has made a difference in communities abroad?