Madison Seifer, a high school junior and Ambassador Girl Scout in Troop 8355, is using her leadership and communication skills to spread awareness of special needs, while fostering a more inclusive environment in her community.

In pursuit of the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, Madison has launched a website titled Bridging Our Circle of Friends, http://bridgingourcof.weebly.com/, which includes information on various conditions including autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, and more. The site also features a quiz to test one’s knowledge on disabilities, as well as video interviews with experts, a resources page, and blog.

Inspired by the lack of integration between students at her school, Santa Monica High, Madison is planning interactive workshops, which she will host in the fall for local Girl Scout troops and clubs at her school. The workshops will feature role-playing exercises for others to better understand the challenges of special needs youth.

Like many regional Girl Scouts, Madison is also volunteering her time at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, she will work in spectator services, a division in charge of directing attendees to the different events happening at the three main centers, while answering general questions.

“The Special Olympics is truly inspirational, because although the athletes have disabilities, they don’t let it stop their dreams of competing,” Madison said. “Even their everyday challenges can be overcome in brave ways, which is what I plan to talk about in my workshops for my Gold Award.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, which turns 100 years old in 2016, is a national award with significant standards that elevate a girl’s leadership skills, creativity, value, and efforts to make the world a better place. Earning the Gold Award requires spending at least 80 hours planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others, and has a lasting impact on its targeted community. The prestigious award recognizes Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts-girls in ninth through 12th grades-for outstanding accomplishments in leadership, community service, career planning, and personal development.

For updates on Madison’s Gold Award project, Bridging Our Circle of Friends, follow her on Twitter: @bridgingourcof.

Visit www.girlscoutsla.org or call (213) 213-0123 for more information.

 

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