Once a year around 50 Girl Scouts show off their talents to raise money for a local nonprofit organization.
This year, marking the second annual event, the Washington School-based Troop 50382 chose the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. The foundation was started and named for their schoolmate, Gwendolyn Strong, who has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder causing damage and weakness to the tissue.
“We were just blown away,” said Victoria Strong, Gwendolyn’s mother and co-founder of GSF. “They see us rolling around campus, and they’re all so sweet. We feel so lucky to be in this community, at Washington.
“We’re really hopeful that she can be a Girl Scout, too,” Strong told Noozhawk.
The GSF aims to increase global knowledge about the neuromuscular disorder and to help other parents of children with SMA.
The money raised from the show, held Friday evening on the Mesa campus of the Santa Barbara elementary school, will go specifically to the foundation’s Project Mariposa, which provides grants for iPads. The tablets have shown to been of great benefit to children with SMA, especially in speech and communication.
“She told me she loved me for the first time,” Strong said of her daughter’s first use of the device. “The iPads are truly changing lives.”
The Girl Scouts who set up and coordinated the show raised $2,850, troop leader Linda Meyer said.
“It teaches (the Girl Scouts) to give back,” Meyer said of the fundraiser.
Gwendolyn and her parents sat in the front row of the audience, which was mostly parents and siblings of the talents. A bake sale was held in the back of the room. In between the performances the scout hostesses entertained the audience with jokes and gave out gifts to lucky raffle winners.
The girls were happy to have entertained Gwendolyn and agree that raising money for people in need is necessary.
“I really liked seeing the smile on Gwendolyn’s face,” said 11-year-old Hannah Meyer.
“We don’t really need the money as much as (people in need) do,” said her fellow scout, Madison Jaimes, 10. “It put a smile on my face seeing Gwendolyn smile.”
Last year, the Girl Scouts showcased their talents to raise money for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.
“It makes you feel special to feel like you’re helping someone else,” said 11-year-old scout Claire Konen.