Friday, March 13, 2015

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Leads Project to Serve Homeless Youth

About a year ago, Virginia Beach Girl Scout Junior Dominique learned about homeless youth in Hampton Roads and what it’s like for some of them to move into a shelter with little to no personal belongings. She thought about what she could do to give them a sense of comfort and decided that she wanted to make a difference by sewing kid-friendly pillowcases to give to the children at For Kids, a homeless shelter in Norfolk. After meeting with staff at For Kids and learning even more about what children who come to this shelter are facing, Dominique sprang into action.

Dominique sewing a pillowcase in
her home last summer.
With the help of her mother and Girl Scout volunteer Charmaine Troy, Dominique began her project making one pillowcase at a time at her home. Using fabric with bright flowers, polka dots, stripes and familiar cartoon characters, the handmade pillowcases provide children entering emergency housing at For Kids with something personal and comforting.

“The pillowcases give kids at the shelter something of their own,” Dominique said. “It’s something that they will be able to take with them no matter where they go.”

Realizing how much of an impact that her pillowcases were having on children who are facing the unknown, Dominique decided to take her project to the next level by involving her peers. She first hosted a service learning day for her classmates and community members at Thalia Elementary School. Then, last weekend, she hosted a second service learning day for her fellow Girl Scouts at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center and headquarters in Chesapeake. At this workshop, nearly 70 Girl Scouts made 84 pillowcases with the help of volunteers from The Tidewater Quilters’ Guild.

Dominique and her mom Charmaine at the pillowcase service
learning workshop at A Place for Girls
By inviting her peers to help make pillowcases, Dominique has not only been able to donate more pillowcases to For Kids, but has also helped her peers learn valuable sewing skills. Dominique has also spread the word about her project and youth homelessness by speaking to community groups, including a group of 150 Girl Scouts during an event at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in the fall.

For her project, Dominique will earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is the highest award earned by Girl Scout Juniors and the third highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Dominique with one of her pillowcases at For Kids
Community service has been a cornerstone of Girl Scouting since the organization was founded over 100 years ago. For more information about getting involved with Girl Scouts, visit