On Thursday October 29, GSSEM honored five women, Olga Alavanou,…
Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan honors Isabella Cook with the most prestigious award in the world for girls: the Girl Scout Gold Award. Isabella, of Bloomfield Hills, is among 13 young women who have taken the initiative to bettering their communities through sustainable community change projects. The time and commitment they’ve dedicated towards these projects prove they’re true leaders and exceptional examples for all girls to look up to.
The Gold Award is Girl Scout’s highest honor and is presented to Girl Scouts who address a community issue or problem they are passionate about. They’re required to spend a minimum of 80 hours investigating the problem, creating a plan, and implementing it.
For her Gold Award project, Isabella addressed the issue of anxiety in children who have go to court. As a child, Isabella visited her grandmother, a former judge, in court and saw the scared look on the faces of children. Isabella took action to educate and prepare children for court by publishing a book (in English and Spanish) called Justice the Court Dog and the Missing Gavel. Her target audience was children who have to testify in court. In order to reach these children, she directed her attention to judges, lawyers, guardian ad litems, Friend of the Court referees, and child advocacy centers in all 50 states. More specifically, she partnered with a retired judge and a retired Friend of the Court referee from Oakland County Probate Court. She also partnered with English, Spanish and Digital Photography teachers as part of the team.
The book teaches children about the courthouse and about the people and places they will encounter in a courthouse to lower their anxiety. She also created an activity book with games to teach children in a playful manner. Isabella distributed her materials to more than 100 legal experts throughout the nation, and created a website to house her materials for current and future use. In addition, 71 books were purchased directly through Amazon. She was successfully able to drive her target audience to her website, leading to 1,009 hits, 115 downloads of the activity book, and 63 video views. Furthermore, Isabella received feedback from judges and others across the nation indicating that they were excited to put her resources into action in order to help children who have to go to court.
“If you are truly passionate about a goal, you will go above and beyond to achieve it.”