Friday, May 18, 2012

Focus on Girl Scout Troop 5227

Staten Island Live reports that Girl Scout Troop 5227 is not your ordinary Girl Scout troop. The girls come from all over Staten Island. Some are developmentally disabled; others are not. They all love coming to their monthly Girl Scout meeting at the South Shore Jewish Community Center in Greenridge with leader Lisa Rosenfeld.

Girls express themselves with words, hums, whines and gestures large and small. The room hums with activity, and the movement and sounds of everyone negotiating the use of markers and stickers while they make a spring project.

The McManus sisters and their mom are among the many friends, siblings, cousins, mothers and other helpful adults that make up the troop. Cailyn, 5, was working on her own spring scene seeing if her sister Ava, 9, needed help. Ava worked on the tray of her wheelchair and communicated mostly with a radiant smile.

"We just moved to Staten Island in September. This is a good way to meet other people in our situation, especially Cailyn, to know she is not the only one with a sister with a disability," said the girls' mother Hyemin McManus.

"It's good for Ava too, to get out. In Brooklyn, we didn't get out. It didn't have as much to offer as Staten Island," she added.

Ms. Rosenfeld is a paraprofessional at PS 37, an elementary school in Great Kills for special education where many of the students have multiple disabilities.

Guiding girls with varying limitations — nonverbal, in a wheelchair, emotionally disturbed, lacking social skills — she's developed enthusiastic Scouts.

As with all Girl Scout troops, Troop 5227 takes field trips. They have gone bowling and to Build-a-Bear in the Staten Island Mall, and they participate in Girl Scout activities such as the Father-Daughter Dance.