For every Girl Scout, there are volunteers that make a difference in her life. Whether it’s a troop leader, parent volunteer or community member, these volunteers influence a girl’s future by showing her a big, bright world ahead of her. For Girl Scouts in Holden, KS, Angel Mallen certainly lives up to her name as an angel for girls. Coming from a low income background, Angel is able to connect to Girl Scouts with economic issues in a unique way…through a shared experience.
Growing up, Angel wanted to be a Girl Scout, but her single, working mother wasn’t able to provide the financial support to continue in the program. The cookie program became her biggest hurdle because they didn’t have a physical address or place to store cookies. When your address is more often your family truck rather than a home, it becomes difficult to sign-up for things like cookie sales.
It’s sad to imagine what an amazing Girl Scout Angel would have been had financial obstacles not prevented her from continuing. “I was one of those ‘Go-getter’ kids, so I loved badges,” said Angel. Fortunately, today’s Girl Scouts have more options than Angel did. At GSKSMO, we are constantly workings to ensure that no girl is turned away because of a family’s financial situation and we are innovating ways to build the Opportunity Fund for girls just like Angel.
Despite the setback, Angel became a business owner who sold her business and was able to retire at age 46! Talk about a SERIOUS go-getter! She now leads a multi-age troop for girls in her community, many of whom are low income girls, just like she was.
“I bring fresh vegetables and herbs to meetings because some of my girls have never seen these types of fresh foods.” said Angel. This innovative thinking comes from personal experience with the problems these girls face. She recently did a project to teach strength by having her troop use their voice and get a glow stick (representing their strength lighting the way in a dark room) until they lit up the room where all the lights were out except for a lamp that Angel had. She then turned down her own lamp, showing them that now they have the strength to light up a dark room and didn’t need her guidance when they learned to be strong. What an inspiring way to teach girls about working together to face their fears!
One of the other things Angel loves is helping girls sell cookies so they can have experiences like Girl Scout Day at the K. “When we got to do Day at the K last year, that was the first time most of my girls had seen a Royals game that wasn’t on a TV,” said Angel.
Thanks to Angel, more than 40 girls have a place to call home in Girl Scouts. Her troop has expanded from 15 Daisies to over 40 girls from Daisy through Junior Girl Scouts. Even with her early setback with Girl Scouts, she believes in the program because of its ability to empower. “Rather than being told you can’t do things because you’re a girl…you’re told you CAN do things BECAUSE you’re a girl,” said Angel.
In addition to the live skills and empowerment, Girl Scouts just provides a level playing field. “When you give to Girl Scouts, you’re giving girls the chance to fit in. Girl Scouts may be the only place where they have a vest like everyone else and get to do activities like everyone else…rather than being left out,” said Angel.
All year, volunteers like Angel are changing lives as troop leaders, service unit volunteers and parent helpers. Without your gifts of your time, your talent and your treasure, Girl Scouts couldn’t exist. As the year comes to a close we thank leaders, like Angel, who recognize their girls’ unique needs and work to provide them a solid support system.
If you’d like to provide a Girl Scout in need a uniform or invest in programming that directly impacts local girls, please consider an end of the year gift today. www.gsksmo.org/donate.