Monday, December 3, 2012

Service Project Ideas

The 2012 holiday season is underway, and we know what that means for Girl Scouts - time for special service projects! Girls in our Council continually impress us with their dedication to serving others by sharing photos of their service projects with us on Facebook and for The Golden Link. What service project is your troop working on this December?

If you're looking for ideas, here's a few from the most recent issue of The Golden Link:

Project Linus
On Christmas Eve 1995, an article titled “Joy to the World” appeared in Parade Magazine. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist Eddie Adams. Part of the article featured a child named Laura who had an "unusual compassion for others,” said Charlotte Barry-Williams, Laura's mother. Laura was diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. “I guess part of the reason is that she has experienced so much pain herself.”

A special “blankie” helped Laura get through more than two years of intensive chemotherapy. She took it to the hospital with her when she went in for treatment. When she was first diagnosed, 97 percent of her bone marrow contained cancerous cells. Although chemotherapy helped eradicate the cancer, she endured nausea, high fevers and the loss of her hair. An allergic reaction at one point caused her to lose vital signs.

After reading the article, Karen Loucks decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver's Rocky Mountain Children's Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born. The organization now has chapters all over the United States, including several across Texas.

Find out how your troop can make a donation for children undergoing cancer treatment by visiting http://projectlinus.org.


Hospital Patient Amenities
Be a part of a a new pilot program at Harris Health System (formerly known as Harri County Hospital District) to improve the patients’ experience. HHS wants to standardize “patient amenities” so whether a patient is at Ben Taub, LBJ or a community health center, they receive the same amenities at each location. With a small budget only some items can be purchased, so donations will make program a success.

Suggested donations include: magazines (Spanish and English); Children’s books
coloring books and crayons; puzzle books and sharpened pencils; crossword; word search; Sudoku; and other similar items.

For more information, contact Heather at 713-566-6400. Not in Houston? Check with your local hospital, hospice care center or other facilities to see what types of donations they can use.

The Holiday Project
Holiday season is for connecting with family, friends and the community at large. Some people aren't able to connect with their own loved ones due to health problems or advanced age. The Holiday Project offers YOU an opportunity to visit people who need you, letting them know they’re not forgotten and brightening their lives by brightening their day!

For more information, contact Walter Black of Volunteer Houston at 713-964-0229 or Donna Martin of Grace Care Center of Cypress at 281-463-9001. Visit www.holidayprojecthouston.org


The Sock Orphanage
Do you have stray socks in your drawers and laundry baskets? Amy P. did. She remembered barefoot children walking through trash-laden streets during trips to Peru and South Africa and an idea was born: a dream to pair sock orphans with other sock orphans and give to those in need. 

This nonprofit organization formed to provide socks to those experiencing homelessness, domestic abuse, illnesses or any other suffering. By creating The Sock Orphanage, Amy discovered that one of the most urgent, ongoing needs at shelters here in the United States is for that of new, clean socks. She’s added finding new uses for sock orphans and gently used pairs as toys and puppets for children. In addition, they are looking for donations of materials in their mission to create puppet kits: felt, wiggle eyes, pom poms, buttons, cotton balls, yarn, pipe cleaners, sandwich size locked bags, Avery white shipping labels (10 or 6 per page size), mini hot glue sticks and rice.

The Sock Orphanage is located in Katy, Texas. For more information, email amy@thesockorphanage.org.


Do you know of a great organization in your part of our Council that could use to extra help during the holidays? Share your service project suggestions in the comments.