ST. LOUIS – September 8 is globally recognized as International Literacy Day, a time to raise awareness and concern for existing literacy problems.
Allison, Farah, Gina, and Chelsea, freshmen in the Parkway School District, used the skills they gained through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to partner with KidSmart to increase the representation of people from diverse backgrounds in children’s books.
After recognizing the need for children with limited resources to see stories promoting acceptance and equality, Allison, Farah, Gina and Chelsea set out to organize a diversity book drive to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award.
These young change-makers decided to use their passion for reading and community service to collect more than 75 books that covered topics such as people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community and people with disabilities as the main characters in the stories.
The girls then donated the books to KidSmart, a local nonprofit organization that empowers children to succeed in school by providing free essential tools for learning.
“Only 21 percent of books are written about diverse characters,” said Chelsea. “However, 51 percent of America’s youth are children of color. Books allow you to see yourself in the story and explore who you are. But without diverse books, children of color do not have that mirror. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the books I have read, and I want other children to have the same experience.”
The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette, girls in 6th-8th grade can achieve. It requires girls to identify a need in their community and dedicate on average more than 50 hours towards addressing and solving the issue. When Girl Scout Cadettes focus on an issue, they care about, learn the facts, take action to make a difference, and they gain the confidence and skills that catapult them to lifelong success.
We’re Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscoutsem.org.