How can I change my local environment for the better? What is a problem in my community that I can help solve? Can I implement a solution that creates lasting change?
Kaplan and Posner, both 14, teamed up to transform a nurse's office at Saxe Middle School into a healing environment. Kaplan spent a lot of time in the nurse's office last year and realized that the institutional feel of the space added to her discomfort.
The girls researched how color affects people's moods and painted the walls and trim in more welcoming and restful hues. They decorated using a nature theme by stenciling leafy branches onto the walls, installing a mirror to reflect natural light into a windowless room and hanging a floor-to-ceiling canvas photograph of a sun-dappled forest. They refurbished some furniture and bought some new pieces.
The girls said that the rooms will "ensure that sick kids who go to the nurse's office come out feeling better, not worse because of the office's environment."
Moor, also 14, created and distributed a guide for restaurants explaining how to become "gluten-free friendly." Because a member of her family has Celiac's disease, Moor is aware of how difficult it can be for people who need gluten-free diets to eat out. She surveyed New Canaan residents who eat gluten-free to see what changes they'd like to see local restaurants make.
She then put together a guide informing restaurants of the survey results and educating them about the many resources that can help them serve gluten-free diners safely. She gave the guide to 30 restaurants in New Canaan.
"I chose this project to help my mother and others who must follow gluten-free diets," Moor said. "My hope is that the restaurants in town will embrace gluten-free dining and New Canaan will become a destination for gluten-free diners from surrounding areas."
To earn the Silver Award, each girl had to complete a "Cadette Journey" and work on her project for a minimum of 50 hours.
Jen Posner, a co-leader of the girls' troop, said, "Not only does it take lots of hours and work to earn a Silver Award, it takes creativity, determination, organization, leadership and perseverance. It's a great feeling for girls to discover that they can make lasting, measurable, positive change in their community."