Long Hill Girl Scout Sofia Squizziato Earns Gold Award

(above) Long Hill Township girl Scouts at the care package sorting event held on Oct. 24, 2023.

Sofia Squizziato earns Girl Scout Gold Award

Long Hill Girl Scout Service Unit

A child is diagnosed with cancer every 3 minutes. In just those three minutes, their world is turned upside down. They learn all about the treatment plan, how they might lose their hair, and how they will spend the majority of the next few months, possibly even years, within the four white walls of a hospital. A Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award a Girl Scout can achieve; it is a 100 hour project that has a substantial, and sustainable impact on a community in need. While she may not have the power to solve these children’s problems or promise a brighter future, Sofia Squizziato aimed to make these pediatric cancer warriors feel less alone throughout the process as her Gold Award project.

(above, l-r) Sofia Squizziato and Fatima Anjum showing their support at the “Dunk Cancer” 3K event held on October 21, 2023.

Sofia set a goal of sending out 125 care packages to pediatric cancer warriors in 5 hospitals in 5 different states. To do so, she created an amazon wishlist in which community members could donate various toys and supplies. In addition to the care packages, Sofia wanted to raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer. This past October, she held a 3K “Dunk Cancer” Event at Watchung Hills Regional High School in which participants ran a 3K around the school and “dunked cancer” for every lap they completed by dunking a basketball into a mini hoop. While the participants waited to start, they could get their face painted, their hair braided, a tattoo, or play yard games and enjoy music. There was also a card making station at the event in which participants were asked to draw an inspirational card which would get sent out along with the care packages for the pediatric cancer warriors. Prior to starting the race, brain tumor survivor Grace Eline spoke about her journey as well as the impact care packages have on these warriors getting treatment. Grace started her own nonprofit organization that benefits pediatric cancer called the WITH Grace Initiative. For more information, please visit withgraceinitiative.org.

(above, l-r) Ava Long and Francesca Sena playing yard games at the ‘Dunk Cancer” 3K event.

After the event and the collection was over, Sofia, among other Long Hill Girl Scouts and community members, worked together to assemble 149 care packages, exceeding her goal by 24. These care packages were then split evenly and sent out to pediatric cancer warriors in the following hospitals: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; Cure 4 the Kids Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada; University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa; Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C.; and Mapp Child and Family Life University of South Alabama Hospital Peds Oncology in Mobile, Alabama.

Sofia had been working on her Gold Award since June of 2023, only getting her final project officially approved by the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey in early March. She dedicated over 100 hours to her project, and she does not regret a single minute of it. As an official Gold Award Girl Scout, Sofia hopes to help younger scouts achieve their Gold Awards in order to continue her impact on the community.

Courtesy photos

(above) Joaquin Squizziato showing his support for Pediatric Cancer.
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