Homeless and underprivileged students struggle to acquire the supplies we take for granted every day. A lack of basic necessities often renders these children unable to attend school, even though it is much safer for them to be in school than to stay at home. As a result, these students are forced to forgo their valuable schooling for days at a time, and may eventually drop out of school entirely. In response to this issue, Audrey Yang’s Girl Scout Gold Award Project, “Helping HOPE” is focused on bringing a sense of “hope” to the homeless and underprivileged students.
Audrey Yang is an Ambassador Girl Scout from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Council Troop 6101. This is her 10th year in Girl Scouting, and she is currently a junior at San Marino High School. Audrey has earned both Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards. She is an active volunteer in her community and is also a multiple year recipient of The President’s Volunteer Service Award at the Silver and Gold levels.
For her project, Audrey worked with the Alhambra Unified School District’s Gateway to Success program staff, Mrs. Betty Sodir, Homeless and Parent Engagement Counselor (HOPE) during the summer to create a mural and collect hygiene products for the HOPE room. The HOPE room was formed with the mission to support underprivileged students by providing them with school supplies, clothing, food, and hygiene products.
The purpose of the mural is to produce a welcoming environment for families visiting the HOPE room and to connect school, hopes and dreams, and Gateway to Success together in a peaceful landscape. The mural includes rolling meadows between a school house and an apple tree. A path winds through the sweeping meadows toward a bright blue sky this signifying a path or a “gateway” to a bright future. The tree with an abundance of apples signifies the fruition of both students’ and educators’ hopes and dreams.
In additional to the mural, Audrey created flyers directed at her Girl Scout sisterhood and local communities asking them to help homeless students stay in school by donating much needed hygiene products such as basic toiletries, including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and feminine napkins. These items were aimed to help students boost self-confidence, create positive self-images, and to bring smiles to their faces. Audrey was able to collect close to a thousand items, which was enough to supply the HOPE room with enough items for the new school year. The collection effort was a success only due to the generosity and support of others.
Audrey is grateful to have received permission and support from Dr. Laurel Bear, Assistant Superintendent of Student/Employee Welfare to undertake my Gold Award project in Alhambra Unified School District. She is also thankful to have Mrs. Betty Sodir as her project advisor, Ms. Olga Velazquez-Rodriguez’s supervision and Ms. Monica Hernandez Morales’ support along the way. Audrey would like to send a big “thank you” to Girl Scouts, as well as Alhambra and San Marino community members for their support.
If you are interested in learning more about the HOPE room and/or would like to make a donation, please contact Monica Hernandez at (626) 943-3410.