Friday, September 30, 2011

Girl Scout Gold Award Project Highlights the Importance of Family in All Forms

New York's Long Island Herald reports on Kaitlyn Seager, a 17-year-old High School senior, who recently organized a family-friendly learning experience about foster care and adoption, en route to earning her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Seager set out to prove that family is an unspoken bond between individuals beyond just sharing DNA, a message that rang strong at Family Fun Day. Seager’s younger sister, Kristen, now 11, was adopted at just 9 months old from China. She also knows more than 10 families who have adopted children.

“I am really excited because this is a great cause,” Seager said. “It is something very near and dear to my heart.”

Seager started the event planning in April. She had to first submit an application, then undergo an interview to explain her project to Girl Scout leaders. After her idea was approved, she had to obtain a school permit to use the gym.

Susana Isaacson, treatment services coordinator with the county’s Youth Board, contacted Nassau County Department of Social Services Commissioner John Imhof on Seager’s behalf. Seager invited an adoption attorney, several social services agencies, businesses, family members and friends to come, with more than 50 people attending throughout the day.

Miss Long Island 2012, Jessica Pinckney, shared her story of being adopted at birth from a family in Texas. She said her parents never hid the adoption from her, and has always felt lucky and fortunate to become part of a new family.

Businesses donated snacks and products, purchased advertisements, and offered arts and crafts for children. There was also a photography section for those who wanted some snapshots. What was once Seager’s vision had become a reality, recognized by several officials like Assemblyman Brian Curran. “Kaitlyn is a very impressive young lady,” Curran said. “She put together a huge event that looks to highlight foster care and adoption services in our area. She did an incredible job, and I look forward to attending her Gold Award presentation.”

Seager still has tasks to tend to after the fair. She has to submit an event report to her troop counselor, reconcile her project budget, and complete some volunteer work, including shopping for pajamas to donate to teenagers ages 12-18.