In pursuing her Girl Scout Gold Award this year, Ambassador Girl Scout and Foothill High School Senior Taylor Zevanove has saved money, researched the troubles of young people across the globe, and traveled to Thailand. As a result of her passion, Zevanove decided that to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award (Girl Scouts’ equivalent to Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout Award), she will work to establish a youth health center in Thailand.
Zevanove and her family visited the Thai/Burmese border over the summer to work with refugee orphans who had fled from the civil war in Burma.
Zevanove, a Foothill High School senior, hopes to establish a youth health center to promote sanitation and preventive care in this rural region and to expand a youth development program to providing a baby kit and nourishment for every child born in a refugee clinic.
The rate of preventable disease is very high amongst the children, she has learned.
“Last summer (2011), my uncle came to visit from his home in Singapore. He is one of the donors who provided the initial funding for the School of Hope, so he shared his experience working with the organization. I spent a lot of time researching the conflict in Burma and, ultimately, I realized the gravity of the situation facing these kids.
The School remained a fairly abstract concept to me until I saw a video of the kids dancing in the rain. As cheesy as it sounds, I was sold; their pure happiness radiated off the screen. Obviously, I have almost nothing in common with the kids at all. But I still found myself thinking about them and praying for them with every Facebook post, email update, and photo.
At some point along the way I decided I had to meet them. After my mom got over the craziness of going to the Burmese border, we started stockpiling airline miles.
We are so incredibly blessed to be living in this community and in this country. With this privilege also comes enormous responsibility. It’s something that can only be understood once you are aware of the realities in the world around us. It has been my goal since the beginning to encourage youth to engage as global citizens."
To raise money for her Gold Award project, which supports the theme for 2014 GSUSA World Thinking Day of “Reduce Child Mortality,” Zevanove plans to host a "Dance Fest and Global Outreach" event October 13.
“Dance Fest and Global Outreach” will take place at Foothill High School, Sat., Oct. 13, from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Youth ages 10-17 and of all skill sets are invited to earn service hours as they take fun dance classes, watch performances, listen to outreach speakers, engage in leadership training, interact with non-profits, and celebrate with snacks and music. The admission minimum is $12 though participants are encouraged to raise more money.
“It is my hope that this event will help local youth realize the talent they have to offer the community and how necessary it is that they use it. Personally, this has been the best thing I could have ever done for myself. While I have acquired an enormous amount of business and leadership skills along the way, it's the people and emotions that have affected me the most.
I left Thailand shocked by the resiliency and compassion I saw there. The kids had everything to fear, but they still allowed love to motivate their lives. This project has allowed me to attempt to bring this concept to manifestation in my own life, and in the process it has given me a sense of purpose.”
The project is expected to be completed in its entirety by December 2012.