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Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Allyson Story, Highlands Ranch, “Juarez Dress Project”

Allyson Story

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award Project, I worked to make 208 dresses for young girls in Juarez out of pillowcases. This targeted the issue of lack of new clothes for girls in Juarez, which is a symptom of poverty. However, It also addressed self-esteem as well. Not having something to call your own can create lack of confidence for girls  in Juarez. In order to help with this, I added a bear with each dress that had a patch on it’s stomach that matched the dress. This way, they would have something of their own that also provided a sense of comfort. I managed several different teams and was involved in the making of these dresses. I hosted four sewing classes for younger Girl Scouts in which I taught them how to sew, two classes with the grandparent section at my church, and helped with my fashion design class as they completed the dresses for their final projects. In addition, I also taught a sewing class to the women in Juarez.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

I measured the impact that my project made on my target audience through the reactions after receiving the dresses. All the girls were so excited to have a dress that they could have of their own. When one little girl saw me during church service, she came running up and hugged me. She was wearing one of the dresses I had made. I also measured the impact through my sewing class in Juarez. All of the women were so excited to learn. They began to brainstorm other ways to use the pillowcases for clothing. It was really cool to see how my project inspired them.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

My project is sustainable through three different ways. In Juarez, I taught a sewing class for a group of women. They all were very excited to learn how to make the dresses and were continuously thinking of other items they could make out of the pillow cases. I left a set of instructions, in Spanish, along with sewing kits in Juarez for them to use when needed. While there, we left many dresses at the orphanage and church for girls of new families. Finally, I left a set of instructions with the grandparent section at my church who will continue to sew and take dresses to Juarez, based on the need.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

The impact of my project can be spread nationally and globally through many different forms. In Juarez, people can see the impact that the dresses have made and also read the instructions I have left there. Along with that, information about my project and instructions can be found on my website which allows anyone to access it, whenever and wherever. An unexpected national link came after I presented my project to the grandparent section at my church. One lady was so inspired by what I was doing to help the young girls in Juarez, she contacted a relative in Portland, to tell her about my project. Her relative wanted to help too, so I sent her 15 “dress kits”, with pre-cut fabric, ribbon and instructions, for her to make for my project.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that not only am I capable of doing big things for the world, but I am able to take on things that may seem terrifying. As a leader, I gained a newfound sense of confidence and I learned how to give good presentations and stand up to talk in front of others without being afraid. What helped me overall with this skill, was learning how to write clear and concise instructions that I could talk about when teaching my sewing classes. Another thing I developed was improved communication skills, including conversing  over the phone and through emails.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

After completing this project, I had a newfound confidence which helped me to get a job and fill out applications without the previous fear that I had of rejection. Along with that, I was able to take this confidence into my school work with DECA presentations. I will grow as a leader in communication because I have grown more comfortable with talking to other adults and using the phone as a form of communication. Finally, this project has given me passion to be a leader in the sewing industry.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

My Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because the skills I learned throughout the years really helped me to complete this project. After discovering so many things about myself through Girl Scouts over the years including my passion to serve others and the leaderships skills I acquired, I became more confident in what I could do for this award. Along with that, it made me think back over the things I had done in my Girl Scout experience like PA training and journeys that have influenced my life for the better. Without the Gold Award, I don’t think I would be where I am today and Girl Scouts has been a crucial part of my life that I’m thankful that I have gotten to and get to experience.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

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