As a continuation of their philanthropy, Sparta Girl Scout Troop 5365 donated a bench and flower planter to the Elks Lodge in Sparta in honor of drug prevention. The charitable act was part of the troop’s work toward earning a Silver Award, which goes to Girl Scout Cadettes in sixth, seventh, or eighth grade who have brought lasting change to their communities.
The scouts held a formal donation ceremony on May 5. Troop 5365 members at the ceremony included Avelina Pena, Rishma Seerttan, Natalie Torres, Brianna Brennan, Juliette Amiel, and Paula Aldaz-Pagnacco. Each participating scout is in the ninth grade.
Cadette Avelina Pena said, “Our troop decided on the theme of drug prevention and awareness since a couple of our girls have personal experience when it comes to drug abuse with close family members. Substance abuse can also affect many people no matter who they are in many different ways, so our troop decided to let our community know that they are not alone and that there is always a solution.”
The bench was donated by Troop Leader Sandra Andrade, but was freshened up and repainted by “the bench group,” as Pena put it: Natalie Torres, Rishma Seerttan, Brianna Brennen, and Juliette Amiel.
Pena was part of the “planter group,” along with Paula Aldaz-Pagnacco and Leah Geety, who could not make the ceremony due to an illness. The planter group built and painted the planter, and then filled it with red tulip bulbs donated by the Center for Prevention and Counseling.
In addition to donating the planter and bench to the Elks Lodge, the ceremony also paid homage to Cody Ulrich, the son of a Helen Morgan Elementary School bus driver named Julie Ulrich who lost him to substance abuse.
Pena noted that Julie Ulrich was also the bus driver for Girl Scout Troop 97771, which helped her troop plant the tulips, alongside sister troop 6565.
Andrade was quoted as saying, “I’m so proud of these girls for earning their Silver Award. Not only for their hard work but also for pushing through the obstacles that the pandemic presented to them. These girl scouts knew they wanted to earn their Silver Award so they made it happen. I’m a very proud Girl Scout leader to this group of amazing and resilient Girl Scouts.”