submitted by Kara Shuemaker
We completed the Agent of Change Journey and the girls learned how “the power of one, the power of teams, and the power of community” all work together. The girls were struggling with a decision to either host a blood drive to ease the high demand for blood or to have a supply drive to obtain supplies (library books, pencils, crayons, etc.) for a new charter school that was opening in our community.
The girls decided to hold a Blood Drive for the American Red Cross, Blood Services Division, to raise awareness about the need for blood, especially during the summer months when demand is high, but, unfortunately, supply is low. These young women studied about blood services and had a representative come talk to the about why donating blood is important. They learned people are just too busy to take a few minutes to give blood that can save lives, but, there is always a greater demand especially during the summer. Although the girls are too young to GIVE blood, they each took on an assignment such as promoting community awareness, speaking to business managers and owners about advertising in their stores, requesting advertisement space from a local newspaper and passing out flyers to attendees at our local 4th of July Parade. One of the girls met with a local Red Cross Representative about getting t-shirts to wear to advertise. Another one spoke with the local newspaper, The Tooele Transcript-Bulletin, and the editor donated a full-color ad to run in the five newspapers prior to the event. On the Thursday prior to the blood drive, the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin ran a full-page activity page geared exclusively toward kids about the different components of blood, fun mazes, quizzes, and jokes.
The blood drive was held on Saturday, July 26, 2014, and was titled the “Girls Save Lives Blood Drive”. The girls were given a goal amount of 50 units and closed the draw with 57 units. With the promotion that was going on at the time, there had to be a youth sponsor between the ages of 16 and 25. Based on the number of units collected, the sponsor could receive a gift card up to $300 to use toward school supplies. One of the girl’s older sister, Julia Jensen–a Senior at Tooele High School, honor student, band field commander for the Tooele High School marching band, participates in various other activities, and is also working–agreed to be the youth sponsor for our blood drive and is donating the gift card to Troop 2339. The gift card, totaling $150.00, will be presented to Scholar Academy, a brand new charter school that just opened in Tooele. Because the school is brand new and just opened, there has not been a lot of money to purchase school supplies and equipment. By completing the blood drive, the Troop was able to combine both of their projects (hosting a blood drive and acquire school supplies for the new charter school) and resolve their dilemma about which project to choose.
The girls learned that each unit of blood can potentially save up to three lives and they also learned that donating blood has other health benefits, like, for example, the threat of cardiovascular disease can be reduced. The girls learned about the power they each have and learned to build courage, confidence, and character by meeting with community leaders and businesses to promote their project. They learned that through the power of team they can work together to make their project a success. They learned the power of community through their efforts to educate, invite, and include the community in their project. The “Girls Save Lives Blood Drive” was the first successful blood drive in several months. Not only did we meet the set goal, we exceeded it. We had seven girls earn their Bronze Award and our youth sponsor earned her “Red Rope” to be worn during her high school graduation. The “Red Rope” is a prestigious honor given to youth showing exemplary community service toward the American Red Cross Blood Services division.
During the blood drive, the girls assisted with checking in donors, keeping the snack table stocked, and provided babysitting services so parents could donate with ease. They would greet parents at the door and shuttle the little ones into a play room with snacks, toys and movies. The girls took turns “working” different aspects of the drive and did so without having to be asked. They saw what needed to be done and did it. It was amazing to watch them learn and grow during the entire project.
These amazing girls learned how to be leaders and how to make the world a better place. They potentially had an impact on nearly 1,000 lives combined with the donations that were collected, the donors that participated, the students attending Scholar Academy, and the education that was provided throughout the community to raise awareness on the need to give blood. The girls from Girl Scout Troop 2339 are planning to make the “Girls Save Lives” blood drive at least an annual event and possibly move toward a quarterly event. Girls can do amazing things!