Project aimed to improve lives of those in nursing homes
BEDFORD, NH | Lily Perkins, 18, of Windham, has earned the highest award in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award. Becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout means a girl has single-handedly changed the world – forever and for the better.
With her Gold Award project, Sunshine for Seniors, Lily’s goal was to improve the lives of the people in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, to make them feel more involved in life. As she spent time working in a nursing home, Lily saw how lonely some residents get and wanted to help them.
To address the situation, Lily created a Facebook community page called Sunshine for Seniors, which provides suggestions on how people can get involved with older folks; wrote a book about the residents and their memories; and spent time with residents doing projects that would improve quality of life, including Valentine’s Day crafts and making a sugar scrub.
“The most successful part of my project was towards the end,” she said in her project report, “when I was the most efficient. I loved meeting with the residents and getting to know them.”
Lily hopes she will have a lasting impact by encouraging volunteers to go to nursing homes and become involved with the residents. Her Gold Award project will make that easier. Her story book contains details about the lives of the residents, making it easier for new staff and visitors to start conversations with residents. For example, one resident’s favorite food is ice cream, so a visitor could mention that to the resident. Referring to personalized details about their lives helps to reduce a resident’s sense of isolation and aids their memories. Families were also interviewed for those with memory impairment.
She also provided a template for families to use to add new residents to the book, creating a sustainable way for this project to last. The residential facility continues to use her interview process and form.
Lily has graduated from Windham High School and plans to attend Keene State College for early elementary education, then go on for her master’s degree in special education. Her goal after graduation is “to jump right into my dream job and start teaching kids and loving my job and students.”
Lily exemplifies the Girl Scout DNA and takes the lead as a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Risk-Taker, Innovator, Leader)™. To earn her Gold Award, each Girl Scout identifies and develops a Take Action project in her community that will stand the test of time, have a real and meaningful influence on people’s lives, and leave a legacy that lasts forever. It is one of the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding experiences a girl can have, and one of the most prestigious recognitions she’ll accomplish in life. And it’s only available at Girl Scouts.
Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. Gold Award Girl Scouts are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts who join the armed forces enter one rank higher than other recruits.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- 11 young women earned their Gold Award last year in New Hampshire and Vermont as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our innovative leadership programs help girls discover, connect, and take action as they develop strong values, a social conscience, and a deep sense of self and their potential. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.