Gold Standard for Change

Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Ingraham

Winters in the Midwest can wreak havoc on communities. It doesn’t take much rain, ice or snow for individuals to be impacted by the unfavorable conditions. Unfortunately, life must go on and we find ourselves cautiously navigating our surroundings.

For Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren Ingraham, all it took was one Midwest winter in her very own neighborhood for her Gold Award project to be born.

Lauren lives in what was anticipated to be small subdivision in Kansas City, MO. When the road was built, the city didn’t anticipate it serving more than one neighborhood. As the community grew, so did the use of the road, which rapidly became unsafe, especially in winter conditions.  It was that one mild winter storm that Lauren realized that something needed to be done. There were too many cars that had gone off the road and slid into the ditches on either side of the road.

The winter storm and hazardous road conditions that inspired Lauren’s project.

“Seeing these accidents made me want to take action and help my neighborhood. I decided the best solution to this problem was to see if the road itself could be improved because it has no curbs or sidewalks,” Lauren said in her guest blog post with KC Healthy Kids. “The only way I would be able to fix the road was to convince the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to improve them. In order to do this, I would have to petition the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC).”

PIAC is a group of 13 individuals representing six Kansas City council districts appointed by the mayor and City Council.

While many might find this task daunting, Lauren did not! She got to work gathering data, writing letters and gathering support with the help of KC Healthy Kids. She presented her proposal at the PIAC meeting and received a positive response, including one from of Sara Loar, daughter of council-woman Teresa Loar. Sara was inspired by Lauren’s proposal and coached Lauren through her speech and the process of working with her local government.

Left: Lauren & Sara Loar. Right: Lauren presenting at the PIAC meeting.

Lauren’s proposal was ultimately supported by the PIAC committee and was sent to the City Council where they just recently approved the project and granted funding for the road to be repaired. Construction on the road will start sometime this summer or fall and is slated to be completed by next year!

“Even though I am a teenager and not yet old enough to vote, everyone has been genuinely supportive that I was speaking out for something that makes my neighborhood unsafe. I encourage all kids to do the same. If you see a problem in your neighborhood, speak out and get help to get it fixed!”

Lauren’s Gold Award project has inspired her to become more involved and use her voice in the political arena. She’s now volunteering on a Missouri State senate campaign and plans to be involved in a U.S. Senate campaign this fall!

Civic engagement is one of Girl Scouts’ four focus areas. Through the G.I.R.L. Agenda, Girl Scouts of the USA is providing tools and support to encourage Girl Scouts, like Lauren, to be a catalyst for change within their own communities. The Civic Action Toolkit is available for Girl Scouts of all ages as well as volunteers!

“Because of Girl Scouts I have learned that you don’t have to be an adult or someone in a position of power to make a difference in your community,” Lauren said.

On April 14, 2018 we celebrated and recognized 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts! You can read about all of their projects here!

 

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