Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: A Child's View of Open Heart Surgery

Jennifer, a Girl Scout from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

When Jennifer was young, her stepfather had open heart surgery. It was a difficult time for her family, and at her age, it was difficult for Jennifer to understand what was going on. For her Gold Award project, Jennifer created a book for children about open heart surgery so that others will not endure the same confusion during an emotional time as she did. Jennifer’s book, “Why Daddy Bear is Having Surgery,” follows a family of bears through the process of illness, diagnosis of heart disease, surgery and recovery.

After her book was published, Jennifer donated 70 copies of her book to local hospitals and doctor’s offices to hand out to children of patients scheduled to have heart surgery.

“More people are starting to develop heart disease at a young age, and families are being affected while children are still young,” Jennifer said. “With my book, children will have a better grasp on what is happening and will not be so confused and scared throughout the process of heart surgery.”

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Jennifer to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.