Garden City, NY July 10, 2012 – While some high schools now require a few hours of community service for graduation, none go as far as the Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award. This year Marissa Accordino, Tina DiTommaso, Stephanie Graziano, Lauren Kerl, Allison Philbin and Valentina Viscardi of Massapequa Park join the record number of 121 Girl Scouts in Nassau County that have woven a minimum of 80 hours of community service into their busy schedules. These young women developed Gold Award community action projects that address social issues in their community or promote acts of kindness and goodwill throughout Nassau County. Their efforts earned these girls the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor that a young woman can achieve in Girl Scouting.
"We are so proud of all the young women who earned their Girl Scout Gold Award this year,” said Donna Ceravolo, Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Through their projects, these women have changed the lives of others and improved their communities in significant ways. We couldn’t be happier that 121 girls chose to take this rigorous path towards earning their Gold Award and succeeded in accomplishing their goals.”
Marissa Accordino partnered with the National Organization for Women’s Safety for her Gold Award project. She wanted to provide teens with information and tips about how to remain safe. As part of her efforts to educate teens, Ms. Accordino appeared on local radio shows and often spoke in front of her community to advocate for her cause. She also created a website and contact point for teens to learn more and share their experiences. Ms. Accordino recently graduated from Massapequa High School, where she starred in the drama club musical production of “Hello, Dolly." She was also the sports editor of the yearbook, a member of the orchestra and SADD and was the cheerleading coach for 5 years. She plans to attend Ithaca College in the fall.
Tina DiTommaso created her Gold Award project to educate her community about the issues surrounding pet adoptions and puppy mills. By working with the Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter, she developed a brochure with facts and statistics on pet adoption. She then publicized and ran a pet adoption day at the shelter, in an effort to have more families adopt their pets, rather than purchasing them at pet stores. Ms. DiTommaso recently graduated from Massapequa High School, where she was a member of the SADD club and played varsity tennis. She also played CYO volleyball and basketball, participated in gymnastics and took acting classes. Ms. DiTommaso will attend Molloy College in the fall, where she will receive an annual $2,000 Gold Award scholarship.
Stephanie Graziano used her Gold Award project to educate children and adults in her community about exotic animals such as snakes, lizards and frogs. She researched the topic and created a PowerPoint presentation, a video, handouts and an educational coloring book. She presented the information to various groups and provided tips on handling the animals, safety precautions and possible dangers. Ms. Graziano recently graduated from Massapequa High School, where she was a member of the SADD club and an avid biology student. She plans to attend Suffolk Community College in the fall to study veterinary technology.
Lauren Kerl’s Gold Award project was designed to create support and awareness for the hearing impaired population on Long Island. She created a reference book and resource kit for the hearing impaired and their families. To further educate the public, Ms.Kerl also created a website that features videos and additional information to inform people about the resources available. Ms. Kerl recently graduated from St. Anthony’s High School, where she was the captain of the varsity golf team and a member of the varsity cross-country, volleyball, and winter track teams. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and yearbook staff. Ms. Kerl received Duns Scotus certification for scholastic excellence. She will enter the Army Corps of Cadets at Norwich University in the fall.
Allison Philbin wanted to increase the community’s awareness of the work of Massapequa Cares, a local organization dedicated to helping military veterans. After meeting with a representative of the organization, she started an education campaign for her Gold Award project. She wrote to businesses, family, friends, and neighbors and was able to enlist many volunteers to donate items needed by veterans at the VA Hospital in Northport. In addition, Ms. Philbin taught children flag etiquette, further increasing their appreciation of the United States and those who serve it. She graduated from Our Lady of Mercy Academy in 2011, where she was a member of the National Art Honor Society. She also played varsity volleyball and was a Club Volleyball player, which included the National Junior Olympics in Dallas, Texas. She recently completed her freshman year at Adelphi University and is a member of the Future Teachers Association, Circle K International and the Green Council.
Valentina Viscardi wanted her Gold Award project to educate the community about the work of the AMT Children of Hope Foundation, which supports teenager mothers that need a place to go with their newborn babies. After researching the organization, she met with students at her high school, speaking to them from the teenage perspective. Ms. Viscardi also created a display board, highlighting the main work of the organization. To further help the teen mothers, she created baskets filled with items that their babies would need. Ms. Viscardi recently graduated from Massapequa High School, where she was secretary of the Italian Club and a member of the Broadcasting and Winthrop Health Explorers clubs. She plans to attend Loyola University Maryland in the fall, where she will major in Biology and follow a Pre-med program.
On June 12th the Girl Scouts of Nassau County honored Girl Scouts Seniors and Ambassadors between the ages of 15 and 18 at a special ceremony held at Adelphi University in Garden City. In addition to the Girl Scout ceremony, on June 21st, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will present the girls, along with their Eagle Scout counterparts from Boy Scouts, with certificates for their achievements at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative Chamber in Mineola. Town of Hempstead Supervisor also honored Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and Eagle Scouts on June 3rd in an event at Levy Preserve.
"Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients are ambitious and dedicated individuals with strong time management and organizational skills. They have joined an elite group of American women, who are part of the Girl Scouts of the USA's Gold Award Alliance," said Ms. Ceravolo.
The Gold Award project helps high school-aged Girl Scouts develop leadership skills and explore various career paths. Overall, the Gold Awards require up to a three-year commitment from each young woman. It affords the teen the opportunity to learn about arts and humanities, cultural and global relations, personal well-being, technology and science, environmental concerns and many of the innumerable issues facing young women and the world today.
Girl Scouts of Nassau County builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouting in Nassau County creates an accepting and nurturing environment, which gives girls a chance to build character and develops leadership skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. With almost 21,000 girl and 7,000 adult members, Girl Scouts of Nassau County has become the preeminent organization and leading authority for girls. The organization, now in its 100th year, continues to make the world a better place one girl at a time.
For more information on the Girl Scouts of Nassau County call Donna Rivera Downey 516 741-2550 at ext. 260, or visit www.gsnc.org.
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