Girl Scouts deliver much more than delicious cookies. They’re also leaders in delivering community services.
For example, some Daisy Girl Scouts from Land O’ Lakes Troop 50128 recently donated about 650 gently used books to BookWorks, a literacy program sponsored by Goodwill Industries-Suncoast Inc.
Ken Karbowski greeted the Scouts and their troop leaders as they dropped off box after box of books at the Goodwill store, at 2390 Willow Drive in Wesley Chapel.
The books will end up in the hands of low-income preschool-age children or at area elementary schools that need them.
Getting such a large book haul is tremendous, said Karbowski, the regional sales manager for Goodwill Industries-Suncoast Inc.
The nonprofit serves a 10-county area, including Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
“You girls are awesome,” he told the Scouts. “You did a good thing for a lot of kids.”
Karbowski is quite familiar with BookWorks. Once a month he visits a Head Start program within the region and reads two or three books aloud to excited preschoolers.
Then, each child gets a book to take home.
“This program we have is huge,” Karbowski said. “We do so much good with it.”
Often, a child leaves the event with the first book they’ve ever owned, he added.
Goodwill estimates that BookWorks serves about 40,000 children each year.
The website for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida includes BookWorks on its list of recommended service projects to earn a “Uniforms in Action” badge. The girls also earn a “Clover,” a green Daisy petal, for learning to use resources wisely. They can earn enough petals to eventually complete a flower design for display on their tunics.
Daisy Girl Scouts serves young girls from kindergarten through first grade.
Troop Leader Heather Tibbetts selected BookWorks from the website’s list, and in mid-March she started organizing.
Each year Girl Scouts in the West Central Florida division partner with a local organization to host a community service project.
“Originally, I thought I would do this fancy flier,” she said.
But then COVID-19 showed up. “I couldn’t use it,” Tibbetts said.
No one could get out and collect books, so Tibbetts and her Daisy Scouts turned to Facebook and conducted a virtual book drive.
In a way, Tibbetts said, a shutdown that originally seemed a roadblock had an unexpected benefit.
“Everybody is home,” she explained. “They’re cleaning their house.”
And, they found lots of books to give away.
“So many people came by and left them by my door,” Tibbetts said. “Between the books and cookies, I can’t wait to get my living room back.”
The lesson for the Daisy Scouts is to give within your community, Tibbetts said.
Troop co-Leader Audrey Flege said the virtual book drive became a community enterprise to give children the gift of books.
“I just feel like every house has got to have one book,” she said. “I know we’re very privileged.”
Published June 24, 2020
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