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Gold Award Girl Scout: Safiya Dhunna, Aurora, “The E-Waste Recycling Exposé”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The E-Recycling Exposé addresses the lack of education for fourth and fifth graders on the importance of e-recycling. Many people have heard of paper, plastic, or glass recycling. But, electronics, as common as they are in our society, are not frequently recycled. They can be harmful to our environment, damaging our water and land with dangerous metals. It struck me as surprising when I found out that only 20% of our electronics are recycled, leaving the rest to be put into the trash and landfills, ultimately polluting our Earth. This fact grew even more shocking to me when I found that paper and plastic products, which are just as important as technology, are recycled more than twice as much as electronics. In fact, in 2017, 46.9% of paper products had been recycled in the United States (epa.gov). These facts spurred me to take action with my Gold Award Project, knowing I could make a difference.

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

My audience learned to answer the following questions:

  1. What percentage of electronics are currently recycled?

  2. Where can you drop off an electronic to recycle?

  3. What is the first step in recycling an electronic

  4. What type of electronic cannot be recycled?

  5. What is the most commonly recycled electronic?

  6. What is the most common metal that comes out of recycled electronics?

  7. If I recycle a million cell phones, how many pounds of copper will be retrieved?

  8. Is it ILLEGAL to put electronics in the landfill in Colorado?

  9. What country produces the most electronic waste?

  10. What country produces the least electronic waste?

My audience also learned the full cycle of recycling an electron. From taking is to be recycled to having the recycled  electronics be made into new technology.

I measured my impact by creating a quiz game, also known as a Kahoot, as well as a pre and post curriculum survey. These three things all had measurable reports to give me the data in my project.

My impact was measured in the beginning,middle and end of my Gold Award, the E-Recycling Exposé. The pre survey was given before any information. The Kahoot was given while I was teaching the students, and the post survey was given at the end. All three things measured how much the students learned throughout the entire project.

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

I have a signed Letter of Commitment from Fox Elementary signed by the fourth grade team/teacher, Ms. Sevy.  In this Letter of Commitment, it states that my e-recycling curriculum will be integrated into the STEM program at the elementary schools that I presented at. This is so that kids in the future years will continue to learn about the important topic of e-recycling. The teachers I talked to were especially interested in using my informational video and my Kahoot game in the future.

With Kyklos, they work on teaching local schools and businesses about environmental sustainability, in Santiago, Chile. They are also partnered with BlueStar Recyclers to learn more about E-recycling. Kyklos is planning to use parts of my curriculum to further their material in teaching about E-recycling.  (https://create.kahoot.it/share/tech-recycling/76a37d2e-a7f3-4ebc-beb8-e14086e160a2).

All the teachers had access to my materials when I shared them through Google Drive or email. Both of these platforms worked well across the board. The video I created was embedded in the PowerPoint I created, and the captions are on that video as well. So, all the materials needed to teach my curriculum are easily accessible. My tools did a really great job of educating the kids while keeping them excited about learning as well.

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

The E-Waste Recycling Exposé’s global link was through a company called Kyklos. The main company I worked with, BlueStar Recyclers works with Kyklos in Santiago, Chile. This company creates programs based on environmental sustainability for local schools and businesses in Santiago, Chile. The informational video I created, I put Spanish captions on it and sent it to Kyklos to use for part of their program. I contacted Kyklos, their co-founder Sebastián Herceg, twice during my Gold Award process. I was supposed to meet their founder in-person since they partner with  a company that I worked with in Denver (BlueStar Recyclers) but unfortunately this was right when COVID-19 hit so it was unable to happen. I did, however, email back and forth with them when I had created my video. When I had first sent my video to Kyklos, their response was great. “Tremendo!” They said.  It made me happy to know that this of course translates to tremendous. Sebastian had a couple of editing marks for me which I then fixed. I also added Spanish captions onto the video which was not easy. These captions can be viewed by clicking the “cc” button on my video which is linked above. I had to translate my video and then make permanent captions on the video which was on my private Youtube channel. I made these changes and then I sent the video on its way to Chile.

Later on, in my E-Recycling Exposé experience, I finished the other parts of my curriculum. After this step, I sent my second email to Kyklos. I asked them if they wanted the rest of my curriculum since they already had my educational video. Their co-founder emailed back and said that I should send it over and that they would work on getting it translated into Spanish. I was extremely happy when this happened. I have a bilingual Gold Award. In two different parts of the globe. Although the curriculum here in Colorado and in Chile, it serves the same purpose. Kyklos educates a lot of local schools about recycling so I am hoping that it will help as many boys and girls there learn about E-recycling.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am good at teaching elementary school kids and teaching in general because my project was curriculum-based and involved a lot of teaching. I never really taught before this.  I had presented projects and PowerPoints, but it was different for me to have to pioneer an elementary school curriculum and showcase it to kids who had never seen it before. I really got into the whole teaching aspect. I was able to talk to the kids and then you know, stop asking questions and discuss things with them that either they were confused about or simply curious about. I even had one of the teachers whose class you are presenting to comment to me that she wanted me to come back and teach her other class because I was such a good teacher. This was something that really surprised me because I had never taught before. I enjoyed teaching and getting to know the students. Doing this part of my Gold Award made me think that I could use the skill in the future.

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

I think earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because of the skills it has given me. I had gained a lot of confidence in myself as a leader, which is a great way to go into college next year, in my opinion. I also have learned how to create a support system, and be creative in ways I never thought I would learn how to do. These are all skills I can use in the future. Doing this project has allowed me to prepare myself for any future career I might be interested in. I know that with these skills I can handle any workload or challenge that comes my way.

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

I feel like the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it allowed me to use all my skills I have learned for one big project. I was able to have something to wrap up my ten years as a Girl Scout and that feeling was incredible.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a G.I.R.L. in a lot of ways but the letter that defines me the most is G, go-getter. I hit a lot of walls when I was initially starting my project and it took me a while to find an idea. But I did not give up, I was determined to do my Gold Award. Throughout the project journey, there were a lot of times when it got hard or challenging. I learned to take a break and then regain my motivation. This helped me gain passion and confidence while doing my Gold Award, and through that I learned how to be innovative by creating my own curriculum, a risk-taker by working with companies I had never worked with before and of course, a leader.

**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.

#GoldAward #erecycling #HighestAwards #recycling #GoldAwardGirlScout #EWasteRecycling #GirlScoutGoldAward #TakeAction #GrandviewHighSchool

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