Bettendorf Girl Scout Ramya Subramaniam received the Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, which is the highest honor an organization member can achieve.
She says her project is about more than the recognition.
“I’m really proud looking back, that I’ve not only finished my Gold Award project, but I’ve also helped people and the environment, and that’s all stuff that I care about,” she said.
Maura Warner, the vice president of marketing for Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, says the project helps people think twice about their school supply use.
“The environment is a big topic right now. We need to make sure that we’re conserving our resources,” Warner said. “Instead of just throwing away that notebook at the end of the year, how do we give back and keep using that?”
Subramaniam says notebooks, binders, folders and writing utensils are the main resuable items.
“With a notebook, like, even though there is writing on the back, I just go in and erase it all, or just put a drawing on top of it,” she said.
Her supplies have helped thirty local families, and she plans to help students beyond the U.S.
“I went on a service-learning trip to Peru last year with my school, and I realized all of those kids could use the supplies that we don’t finish,” she said.
The pandemic halted her plan for international donations, but she is excited to help her peers locally and reduce waste.
“That’s how we’re going to lower our environmental footprint,” she said.
The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois reports that fifteen organization members are working towards their Gold Award, which requires eighty service hours and substantial planning.