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Scouts find innovative ways to give back amid pandemic

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Courtesy of Los Altos Girl Scouts Service Unit 608
Annika Neumann, from left, Caroline Ramko and Macaela Raygada – members of Los Altos Girl Scouts Service Unit 608 – perform cleanup duties last fall at Shoreline Park in Mountain View.

The pandemic hasn’t stopped Los Altos Girl Scouts Service Unit 608 from performing community service. The girls, ranging from kindergartners to eighth-graders, have adapted to Santa Clara County’s public health guidelines to get the job done.

Instead of taking on a coastal cleanup, for example, the Service Unit 608 troops tidied up a place closer to home.

In September, a second- and fourth-grade troop from Springer School cleaned up Shoreline Park while complying with social-distancing rules, said Barbara Burbach, program support manager for Girl Scouts Northern California.

Troop members also have participated in a movement called Days for Girls, according to Leslie Carmichael, co-leader of the unit’s Troop 60321. Days for Girls works to provide menstrual health care to less-fortunate communities by creating kits with reusable products. Troop members helped assemble the kits.

“In normal times, a lot of the kits that were made would be distributed in foreign countries, but that’s not happening right now,” Carmichael said. “So, (the kits) are going to Native American tribes and farmworkers.”

As far as holiday-related community service projects, a few of the troops have sorted donations to the annual toy drive at Hope’s Corner, a Mountain View-based nonprofit that serves meals to the hungry. 

Many troop members have helped the community independently by doing tasks such as delivering groceries to those at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Sunnyvale resident Shalini Dawani has two daughters, both in Troop 60762, who earned a badge for assisting their neighbor during the pandemic.

“We made sure to give her some masks, and also asked her if we can help out with groceries or even walking the dog,” Dawani said. “My daughters take the opportunity to help her whenever she needs it.”

Dawani’s daughters also continue to volunteer at Animal Assisted Happiness’ Smile Farm, a nonprofit that aims to provide comfort to children with needs through animal visits. The girls help out with farm chores during the weekends while taking precautions such as wearing gloves and masks.

“Especially for a younger age group, (volunteering) gives you a little bit of independent experience,” Dawani said. “(They) also get some confidence around leadership activities when they participate in public open hours and try to answer questions, so I think it’s a great opportunity for them to be involved.”

For more information on Los Altos Girl Scouts Service Unit 608, email Burbach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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