Lillianna Fowler of Kingston created learning resource to increase communication
KINGSTON, NH – Connecting hearing people with those who are deaf or hard of hearing so all can be more fully involved in their communities is the driving force for Lillianna Fowler. She is now a Gold Award Girl Scout for her work teaching the hearing how to communicate in sign language.
Fowler, 17, of Kingston, has achieved the highest recognition for a Girl Scout Ambassador for her project, Little Signs, Big Difference. The Gold Award is Girl Scouting’s highest honor for girls in grades 9-12, the capstone achievement for a Girl Scout who changes the world for the better.
Interested in sign language since she was little, Fowler came to realize in high school that it was difficult for a friend of hers who is deaf to fit in. She became determined to find a way to include those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“Inclusion! It is such a large issue between the hearing and the deaf,” she wrote in her final report for her project. “As someone who wants to go into ASL (American Sign Language) as a profession, I want to make a change in something that means so much to me. The best way to fix the lack of inclusion is to expose children to the issue. To accomplish this, I provided a resource for children to use to learn ASL at their own pace.”
Originally Fowler planned to have an after-school club at Bakie Elementary School in Kingston to introduce children to sign language and deaf culture. Like so many plans, however, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change, and Fowler switched to a fully online plan, including videos and a website as a learning resource, which she built herself without templates.
“I tried to make it so they can reach out to me whenever,” she said. I made a Google form so when they watched a video they could fill it out and tell me if something should be changed.”
Having her website and videos online will keep her learning resources available for the future, and the principal at the elementary school has committed to making sure teachers know that this resource exists for them to use. Plus she encourages everyone to be aware of the issues surrounding hearing loss.
“I always tell people it’s not just the deaf person’s job to accommodate,” she said. “Do your part to include them. Learn about ASL. There’s the video phone, write down notes on your phone. Be patient and kind.”
Fowler is a lifelong Girl Scout, having started in kindergarten as a Daisy. She has also earned Girl Scouting’s Bronze and Silver Awards, and traveled the world, including a trip to the Galapagos Islands as a Girl Scout. She’s also a powerhouse Girl Scout Cookie entrepreneur who sold 2,600 packages of cookies. She maintains a 4.2 GPA while attending both Sanborn Regional High School as a senior half the time, and Northern Essex Community College the other half. She is hopeful that a trip she is planning to Costa Rica next summer will take place.
She gives her leaders, Anita Fowler and Stacey Athanasiou, credit for inspiring her to stay in Girl Scouting the full 13 years. “My leaders keep things so fun,” she said. “They make sure what we do is what we actually want to do.”
With an eye on becoming an interpreter for the deaf, she has applied to the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. NTID is the first and largest technological college in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains offers girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont the opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve no matter their location or economic status. At Girl Scouts, she’ll get to lead her own adventure and team up with other girls in an all-girl environment to choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest her most. Along the way, she’ll gain important skills in four areas that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); Outdoors; Life Skills; and Entrepreneurship.
Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
Lillianna Fowler spent 95 hours working on her project. Her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Eleven young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2019-2020 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!
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 Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. 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.