Girl Scouts of North East Ohio recently recognized 62 Girl Scouts who have achieved the Gold Award at a ceremony June 14 in Akron.

The Gold Award project challenges girls to identify an unmet need or core issue in their community, research and investigate it, recruit volunteers and build a team to create a plan to address the issue or need. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls take the rigorous path toward earning the award.

Local Girl Scouts who were honored at the June 14 event include:

Kristyn Wolf, a graduate of Boardman High School, who has been a Girl Scout for 13 years. In addition to Girl Scouting, Wolf is an active member of National Honor Society, Parent Teacher Student Association, Key Club, Big Spartan/Little Spartan, and Link Crew. She is president of the Youngstown Library’s Teen Advisory Board as well as a cantor and CCD teacher at St. Christine Church.

For her Gold Award project, Wolf organized a team of readers to produce material for Youngstown’s Radio Reading Service, a radio station which broadcasts written material for the blind. Three million visually impaired Ohioans often find it difficult to stay informed of daily news, events and consumer information. The recordings produced by Wolf and her team helped fulfill the need to inform these individuals. Wolf also constructed and distributed an informational pamphlet about the Radio Reading Service to all 15 branches of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, informing the community about the service and encouraging citizens to volunteer.

Wolf will attend Youngstown State University in the fall as a University Scholar.

Laura Garvin is an East Palestine High School graduate and is enrolled at YSU.

Her Gold Award project was to craft lap-blankets to donate to the residents of Whispering Pines Village and Covington. Garvin personally delivered blankets to the residents and then took photos and framed them for residents.

At YSU, Garvin is a studio-art student and participates in the Marching Pride Color Guard. She is a member of the Student Art Association and participated in decorating windows in downtown Youngstown this past Christmas season. She has won multiple awards for her art, including the Simon Florence Beecher Talent Scholarship as well as the Robert J. Yalch Endowment Award. Outside of YSU, Garvin recently assisted with the set design for the East Palestine Middle School’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Madeline LaPolla is a senior at John F. Kennedy Catholic School.

Her mother, Judi LaPolla, has been her Girl Scout leader from her time as a Daisy Scout to the present. LaPolla has earned the Leadership Pin, Spirit Alive and Marian Awards, as well as the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.

Her Gold Award project, “Stop the Stigma!” raised awareness for those with mental-health disorders. She organized a walk-a-thon at Eastwood Mall in which participants walked the perimeter of the mall and brought common household items to be donated to Beatitude House and Trumbull County Children Services. The event also featured an art show in the mall gallery with works by LaPolla’s peers that all incorporated green, the color of mental-health awareness. Artwork was distributed along with the donations, where it will forever be displayed.

In addition to Scouting, LaPolla dances ballet and modern styles at Ballet Western Reserve, is a member of National Honor Society and was on the speech and debate team in original and oratorical interpretation. She is an active member and lector at Blessed Sacrament Parish and was a member of the 2012 team of peers on a Rostro de Cristo mission trip to Duran, Ecuador. This month, LaPolla embarked on another mission trip to India with the Me to We and Free the Children organizations. LaPolla will attend Miami University of Ohio in the fall, majoring in biology with a premed track.

Maura Dixon hosted a Holi Day Color Festival at her school for her Gold Award project, in an effort to raise awareness and send school supplies to India for children in need. She had students from the Upper and Lower Campus create Indian-inspired artwork to display as well.

She is a junior at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Warren, where she is a member of the Eagle Corps service club, Relay for Life, Paws with a Cause, the bowling team and the softball team. Dixon is in the process of creating a new club at JFK to help children with terminal illnesses. She will be a senior next year and hopes to attend college in Arizona and major in art.

Anna McCue, a junior at John F. Kennedy Catholic School, is the daughter of Brian and Christine McCue of Warren.

She is a member Girl Scout Troop 80117. She began in Girl Scouts as a Daisy.

McCue serves her parish community of Saint William as a lector and altar server. As a student at Kennedy, she traveled to the Maasai Mara in Kenya to help build a school in partnership with the Me to We and Free the Children organizations. When McCue returned from Africa, she became passionate about access to clean water in developing countries.

The trip inspired her project for her Gold Award, which she titled “The Living Water Project.” The project urges participants grasp the inequity of access to clean water by having them carry 40 pounds of water for 3 miles, mirroring those in Africa who must carry a similar weight to provide clean water for their families.

McCue enjoys theater and has participated in the yearly school production since third grade. She is a member of Student Senate and the Speech and Debate team. She has competed in state competitions and will be competing in the National Forensics League competition.

Olivia Patchen is a graduate of Howland High School and Ashtabula Technical School.

She has been a Girl Scout for five years and has earned both the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.

Patchen writes music and she plays 13 instruments including the squeezebox, trumpet, trombone, harmonica, piano, violin, drum set, church organ, alto saxophone, clarinet, tenor saxophone and ocarina and can even create a tune using a leaf. She participates in Skills U.S.A’s Quiz Bowl.

Patchen’s Gold Award project was to collect, make and donate stuffed animals to the Emmanuel Lutheran Coat Closet to ensure that the children in need who came in for clothes also would be able to celebrate Christmas. She collected more than 500 stuffed animals and made more than 50 pillow pets. Patchen arranged for local Girl Scouts to take part in making annual toy donations around the holidays for the children.

Patchen will attend Trumbull County Technical College to pursue a career in computer sciences.

Rachel Pinti, a graduate of John F. Kennedy Catholic School, has been a Girl Scout for 13 years. She has earned the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

In addition to Scouting, she is involved in sports, lettering four years in tennis and three years in cheerleading, and was team captain for both sports during her senior year. She also is a member of a competitive-cheerleading team that earned third place in the U.S. finals competition in April.

For her Gold Award project, Pinti designed and coordinated the construction of a receptacle that would be used to dispose of unused and expired drugs. The 4 Ω-foot by 2-foot cylindrical receptacle is made of rolled steel and painted to resemble a giant pill bottle. It is located in the lobby of the Trumbull County Jail in Warren and emptied on a regular basis by members of the sheriff’s department, who take the contents to be properly destroyed. The receptacle was the first 24/7 medication dropoff in Warren. Posters advertising the service were distributed to various pharmacies and community sites; other cities have since followed and also have sites available for daily dropoff.

Pinti will attend YSU in the fall to pursue a degree in physical therapy.

Marisa Pipino, a senior at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

She is the daughter of Jim and Mary Jeanine Pipino; her mother has been Marisa’s leader for the entirety of her time as a Girl Scout. Pipino has earned the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

For her Gold Award project, Pipino organized a Kairos retreat for her local deanery. At this retreat, 24 youths and nine adults spent two days and one night at Villa Maria in Pennsylvania, where they learned that everyone has a story. Pipino became interested in doing a project such as this because of her experience of Kairos at her school, and she wanted to give those who do not go to a Catholic school the opportunity to experience this retreat. Pipino plans to organize another retreat next winter.

At her school, Pipino is a member of the Student Senate, Relay for Life, the Speech and Debate team and the tennis team. She is a competitive dancer at Debonaire School of Dance.

Lauren Wimer, a graduate of Howland High School, has been a Girl Scout with Troop 80598 since kindergarten. She plans to attend YSU in the fall where she will major in accounting and business.

During high school, she was involved in band, Ski Club, FCLLA and Science Club. In the summer months, Wimer is a buddy with TOPP Soccer, assisting handicapped children in learning how to play soccer. She recently was recognized with three other students as “Buddy of the Year” in Philadelphia.

While in Girl Scouts, Wimer and her troop have completed several service projects, including collecting canned goods for food pantries, making quilts for the homeless and collecting personal-care items for women’s shelters.

Wimer’s parents have been foster parents in Trumbull County for 25 years; her personal experience with foster siblings inspired her Gold Award project. She raised funds to purchase suitcases and backpacks that she filled with personal-care items and toys, including a stuffed animal for the foster children to hold when they are scared. The Gold Award project also earned Wimer a 2013 “Service to Children Volunteerism” award from Trumbull County Children Services.

Alyssa Wilburn, a graduate of Liberty High School, has been a Girl Scout with Troop 80923 for 11 years.

For her Gold Award project, Wilburn brought technology to the students of St. Stephen Preschool in the form of Nooks. She also replaced worn, plastic chairs with refinished oak chairs.

Wilburn plans to major in early-childhood education at Thiel College in Pennsylvania.

In addition to Girl Scouting, Wilburn has volunteered for the YMCA as a camp counselor and for the Relay for Life. She has earned several awards, including Math Student of the Year, Science Student Highest Average and four-year Scholastic Athlete. She also lettered four years in bowling.

Milestones is a regular Sunday feature in The Vindicator. Articles must be submitted within 30 days of the Milestone event. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you want a picture returned. Pictures also may be picked up at the paper’s Front Street facility at the security guard station. Send items to: Milestones, c/o The Vindicator, P.O. Box 780, Youngstown 44501.

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