Nelly Grantham's Girl Scout vest is covered with badges, symbolizing achievements and work done since the first grade. Her accomplishments don't end at badges though.
The Horizon High School senior's most recent accomplishment is earning her Gold …
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The Horizon High School senior's most recent accomplishment is earning her Gold Award, the highest honor for a Girl Scout. The Gold Award is not mandatory and this year just 50 Girls Scouts earned the honor.
Girls who choose to earn their Gold Award must: identify an issue, investigate it thoroughly, get help and build a team, create a plan and present a plan, gather feedback, take action, and finally, educate and inspire others.
The project takes at least 80 hours to complete. Grantham, 18, began her journey in August 2013. Since then she's been collecting personal hygiene items for homeless families and those in crisis at Growing Home, a Westminster nonprofit organization. Grantham is mentally and physically disabled, but that didn't stop her from collecting over 6,000 items
And her work won't end after she graduates from high school and ends her Girl Scout career.
“For the Gold Award you have to have a project that is sustainable,” she said. “So I was able to present my project to churches and different organizations who will continue to donate personal hygiene items for a long time.”
Grantham admits she was initially scared to walk into businesses and ask for donations. But she quickly gained confidence and felt at ease sharing her project and educating people about Growing Home, a place she's been volunteering at with her family for many years.
“I was just astounded that Nelly was so confident to go into totally new places, like a dentist's office, with very little reservation,” said Valerie Grantham, Nelly's mom. “I definitely saw growth in her confidence. It was impressive. She had confidence in what she was doing and that was just inspiring.”
By earning the Gold Award, Nelly said she realizes that even though she's mentally and physically disabled, she's able to plan and complete a large project that in the end, really helps others in need. She also learned life skills like organization, persistence and speaking in front of large groups.
But overall the best part of the project Grantham says was spending time at Growing Home.“Hanging out at Growing Home was great,” she said. “I actually became a Growing Home Ambassador because I took different groups to Growing home to have them learn about them. I got a plaque for that.”
AnneMarie Harper, public relations director for Girl Scouts of America, said Grantham's passion for Growing Home was easy to see. And with a project that can take up to two years to complete, passion is an important key to Gold Award success.
“What makes this award so special is that the girls learn to take something they really care about, come up with an idea to share it with others, while making a difference,” Harper said. “Nelly is an inspiration to all of us. She showed that you can still do great things despite certain obstacles in your life. She is an incredible young woman and we're very proud of her.”
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