Wednesday, July 20, 2016

St. Agnes Girl Scout Raises Awareness and Earns Gold

Victoria Shelby, a junior St. Agnes Academy, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.  The award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable community service projects that require a minimum of 80 hours to complete. Less than five percent of Girl Scouts earn the award.

To earn the award, Shelby worked with local non-profit organizations to complete a tri-part project, including Elijah Rising, a non-profit organization that helps victims of sex trafficking and Quilters Guild of Great Houston, to raise awareness about the sex trafficking industry. During phase one of her project, Shelby rallied a team of volunteers to help her create a video about the basics of human trafficking.  During phase 2, Shelby launched the Campaign for Comfort to provide girls who are coming into Elijah Rising’s aftercare facility with items of comfort, like a quilt, to remind them that they are important and loved. Each quilt sent included a note of support. The final phase of Shelby’s project was a boutique she designed and organized for residents of the aftercare facility to choose new, comfortable and age-appropriate clothes.

“Girls and women in the sex trafficking industry are given clothes to make them look sexy, so I collected new undergarments and casual clothes and organized them in a boutique-like environment called Kendleton’s Kloset,” said Shelby. “This allows the young women who have been forced to wear uncomfortable clothes for the majority of their life, to be able to choose their own style and be comfortable in it.”

The boutique includes a room with intimate apparel and a room with different types of clothing, shoes, purses and accessories. A dressing room is located in between the two rooms.

“This boutique can be run by the girls at the aftercare facility, which will give them retail experience before going back into the job market,” said Shelby. “I just want to make those coming out of sex trafficking feel good about themselves and provide a place where they can enjoy the thrill of a fun shopping experience.”

Shelby received fixtures from a nearby Children’s Place store. Clothed by Faith, a Katy-area non-profit organization that provides clothes to the needy, will keep the racks stocked. 

Shelby has been a Girl Scout for twelve years and earned several other recognitions, including the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards before pursuing the Gold. She said that she is really passionate about bringing awareness to the sex trafficking industry because most of those affected by it are around her age.



To learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award, which turns 100 in 2016, visit www.girlscouts.org.