By Viktoria Nasteva
Grace Haley has always looked for opportunities to lend a hand, and being a Girl Scout has helped transform her from one who needs help to one who provides it.
One of her favorite aspects of Girl Scouts has been selling cookies, and every year her family donates cookies to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept.
“I love donating to these police officers because they keep us safe every day,” she said.
After earning Bronze and Silver awards, she wanted the Gold Award because it offered the best platform for her to make an impact, she said.
Haley has family members with special needs, so she wanted her Gold Award project to center around the community. She also loves children and has been working with preschoolers for years, so she built a mobile sensory room for the special needs kids at Thrive Preschool in Westfield. A sensory room is a specially designed area filled with items that develop and engage the user’s senses.
Space was limited, which spurred the mobile interpretation. Haley filled bins with things like water beads and pompoms that teachers can check out and utilize in their classrooms. She also created a guide book for the teachers with ideas on how to use the pieces.
A senior at Carmel High School, Haley has been a Scout since first grade and is one of two girls from Troop 906 to receive the Gold Award this year. Fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts receive the Gold Award annually, according to the Girl Scouts of the USA website. The experience has solidified in her the principle of the Girl Scout Law of being a sister to every Scout, she said.
“I love helping others, and I never judge others before I get to know them,” Haley said. “Although the law says to be a sister to every Girl Scout, I have expanded this principle and modified it to fit every person I meet.”