Girl Scout’s Gold Award is about helping children

By Marcia Tate | Jun 26, 2014
Photo by: Donated GIVING COMFORT TO CHILDREN IN NEED —  Pictured from left are scouts Marisol Garcia; Jessica Martin, Ambassador Girl Scout, with her Gold Award Project comfort dolls; and Alejandra Herrera; (back row) Marcia Tate, troop leader; Paul Brown, Canton Central United Methodist Church Pastor; and Jan Chicoine, Martin’s project mentor.

Jessica Martin, 16, a junior at Tuscola High School, has been a Girl Scout in Troop 30250 since she was 5-years old.  She will soon receive one of the most prestigious awards that Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts have the opportunity to obtain — the Girl Scout Gold Award. Martin has been working on this award for the last year and is in the final step of her project to give a means of comfort to children who are suffering.

When Martin was 10-years old and a Brownie Girl Scout, a member of her troop had cancer. She wanted to help, but didn’t know how. She had a great sense of helplessness. When she became an older Girl Scout, she remembered that feeling and realized that there was something she could do to help children and it could be done through her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

After much thought and research, she decided to make comfort dolls for the children at the children’s oncology outpatient treatment facility of Mission Hospital. Martin spoke with the director of the children’s floor about her plan. The director was excited about Jessica’s project and it was decided that they would need 100 dolls per year.

As Martin was preparing to begin the project of making the dolls, she realized that there were  other children who were hurting, but not from an illness. In order to touch these children’s lives with her comfort dolls, she contacted three local agencies that serve children who are hurting emotionally from mistreatment, neglect or abuse. All of the agencies — KARE, REACH and Broyhill — were receptive to receiving the dolls.

Now needing to supply 240 dolls per year, Martin partnered with the Canton Central United Methodist Church sewing group, The Sew Happy Quilters, to make the dolls on an ongoing basis.  She also taught the girls in Junior Girl Scout Troop 1791 to make the dolls, so that they can help with the project.

On Sunday, June 1, 130 dolls were dedicated at Canton Central United Methodist Church and are ready to be delivered to the children. After the dedication of the dolls, Adriane Howard, apparel teacher at Pisgah High School came to Martin and pledged to also help continue the comfort doll project with her sewing classes.

Those interested in sewing dolls or donating materials to help continue the cause, are asked to contact Jan Chicoine of Sew Happy Quilters at 627-8887.