Girl Scout Desiree Santos’ Gold Award Project
Submitted by Kerry Rokicki
Desirée N. Santos, a resident of Cranford, N.J. and a Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of Cranford (Service Unit 48), recently received official approval of her Girl Scout Gold Award project by the Girl Scouts of the Heart of New Jersey.
Desirée, a 2020 graduate of Cranford High School and a freshman at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), utilized her artistic talents to create a web comic that addresses the challenges faced by parents of LGBTQ youth, something that is not always included in mainstream LGBTQ discussions. The comic is available virtually so it may be easily shared with anyone. The link is: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/emma/list?title_no=471819
“It was important for me to complete this project because this is an issue that no one really talks about,” said Desirée. “This project was meant to bring awareness to the untold struggles of the parents who go through as much anxiety as their children.”
The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA, earned by Girl Scouts after meeting certain prerequisites. Since 1916, Girl Scout’s highest award has stood for excellence and leadership for girls everywhere and only 5.4 percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award.
“I was excited to receive the news the project had been accepted as it meant over two years of hard work paid off,” said Desirée. “I am very appreciative of all the support provided to me by my project advisors and team, Marcy Roth-Kielczynski, Anne Weisenfels, Lockey Maisoneuve, Richard Bell and, of course, my family.”
Ms. Weisenfels, one of Desiree’s advisors, commented, “Desiree was able to create a project that combined her commitment as an ally of the LGBTQ community, with her passion and creativity as an artist. The outcome is a wonderful education for others and an expression of her unique talents.”
In addition, the Girl Scouts of the Heart of N.J. awarded Desirée with the GSHNJ Change Maker Award. The GSHNJ Change Maker Award recognizes a Girl Scout’s combination of outstanding accomplishments as a Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scout. Desirée’s award projects were all focused on sustainable service to others using her artistic gifts.
Desirée recommended that Girl Scouts interested in achieving the higher awards should be prepared to work hard. “You can’t be lazy, you have to be diligent and work for the achievement,” encouraged Desirée. “Half of Girl Scouts is fun and games, but the other half is hard work; volunteering, projects, and independent work. You can have all the fun in the world, but if you want to make a difference or earn distinctions, you need to plan to work hard and be diligent.”
The GSHNJ will present Desirée with the Gold Award pin and the Changer Maker pin at the 2021 Gold Award Ceremony tentatively scheduled in June of 2021.
The Girl Scouts of Cranford (Service Unit 48) is an organization dedicated to building G.I.R.L.’s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ of courage, confidence, and character who will make the world a better place. The Girl Scouts of Cranford is a part of the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Council which is part of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. For more information on the Girl Scouts of Cranford, go to www.cranfordgirlscouts.com.