Eight Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Students Receive Girl Scout Gold Awards

Published : Wednesday, May 21, 2014 | 11:14 PM

Ceremonies were recently held throughout the local area to honor Girl Scouts who achieved Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, and recipients of Gold Awards included eight current Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (FSHA) students.

The honored Tologs — Kayla Grahn ’15, Julia Houser ’14, Julia Melehani ’16, Laura Thompson ’14, Claire Furlong ’16, Katherine Laco ’15, Anna Lopez ’15 and Tiara Avaness ’14 — all undertook substantial community-service projects that required a great deal of research and planning.

Kayla Grahn (pictured) partnered with the organization Discover the World and spent a week with Kenyan orphans in Nairobi. While there, she put together a three-day running clinic to encourage community among the children and purchased running shoes, shorts and shirts for their use. Upon returning home, she created a documentary video about her time in Kenya.

Julia Houser: “I worked with the Angeles National Forest and created a slideshow using pictures of the forest after the 2009 Station Fire to teach about forest recovery, ecology, and conservation/protection of the environment and the forest ecosystem. It plays on DVD at the Chilao Visitors’ Center. I also created lesson plans geared for younger kids to teach them about ecology.”

Julia Melehani helped Penny Lane, a nonprofit organization that works with foster children and offers social services to children across Southern California, furnish a resource room at its new facility in Palmdale.

Laura Thompson: “For my Gold Award Project, I worked with the Regency Park Oak Knoll retirement home. There, I worked with residents who suffered from dementia. I raised funds to purchase games and activities that were stimulating for their minds so the residents could have some sort of physical exercise and a lot of mental exercise. These residents are suffering from dementia and need some form of mind exercise to keep their cognitive functions.”

Claire Furlong: “It is often difficult for adults with mental disabilities to find jobs and integrate themselves into the community. There was no concrete information or go to booklet for Pasadena Adult Living Skills center on how to do this and so information was being reinvented, or not visited at all. I made a binder with clear information on job descriptions, qualifications and applications with clear steps to follow for specific jobs and businesses. I called and visited these businesses to gather information that would be useful. In addition, a collection of literature in Spanish and English in library form for the center and caregivers. The impact is assisting the center with concrete information that can be also added to benefit teachers, students and caregivers, now and for the future.”

Katherine Laco fought loneliness among the elderly population by holding a spa day at Pasadena’s Regency Park Senior Living Center. Helping her were 10 fifth graders from Holy Family School in South Pasadena, and together, they provided hand massages, painted nails and chatted with the seniors. She also gathered donations from local beauty shops to provide baskets for the attendees.

Anna Lopez: “I held an Arts and Crafts Camp at Ability First, which is a center for people who have physical and developmental disabilities to learn important life skills that they will be able to use throughout their lives. This camp lasted for three weeks, and we met on every Friday of those weeks. There were three groups: children, teens and adults, who each did one craft for about an hour per day. All the crafts were different, as the older participants were able to complete more complicated crafts. I funded this project through a yard sale, in which I was able to raise around $900 for my project. I planned and supplied all of the crafts myself, and I also left loads of extra supplies and a craft booklet with instructions on how to complete all the crafts we did with Ability First so that they could continue to benefit from my project. I got to volunteer and work hands-on with the participants, which was truly an amazing experience. Working with them and spending time doing fun crafts with them was something that I will never forget and has taught me so much.”

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 440 Saint Katherine Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, (626) 685-8500 or visit www.fsha.org.

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