Monday, April 27, 2015

Gold Girl Spotlight: Claire Kurio

Introducing Claire!
It’s always an honor to share the accomplishments of our Girl Scouts and today we’re highlighting Claire Kurio. Always striving to fulfill the Girl Scout Promise to help people at all times, Claire created an opportunity for fellow youth to serve their community through the Interfaith Hospitality Network. We could go on and on about Claire’s amazing Gold Girl project, but we’ll let her tell you more!

A Rewarding Journey
My name is Claire Kurio and I’ve been a member of Troop 484 in the Bluebonnet Valley service unit for almost 12 years now. I worked on my bronze and silver awards, completed a journey and have just recently finalized my Gold project. I would encourage all girl scouts to complete each project and award opportunity along the way because it really prepares you for the 80+ hour Gold Award later in high school.

Leading With Faith
For my project, I added a high school youth volunteer component to an already very successful program called Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). IHN includes over 30 host churches, temples, synagogues, etc. in the Austin area that welcome homeless families into their buildings and congregations for 4-5 weeks each year. These families are able to stay free of charge while they meet with counselors and advisers helping them look for a stable job that can fully support their family again. While the program already used adult volunteers to set-up for their stay, provide dinner to the families each night, stay overnight with the families, do laundry, etc., none of these positions catered to the children. I saw the need for this component after volunteering with my parents to take dinner each time IHN visited Covenant Presbyterian Church over the past 5 years. Each time I noticed that the homeless parents were tired from a long days work or searching for work and wanted to relax, while their kids were longing for attention and someone to hang out with after school!

Getting Others Involved 
I recruited high school volunteers from the Covenant Pres youth group along with National Honor Society students from Anderson High School who volunteered 1-2 hours of their night during IHN’s stay at Covenant to hang out with, mentor and tutor the homeless children. Additionally, as part of my project, I provided a supply box with school supplies, board games and balls for the volunteers and kids to enjoy. The youth volunteer component of IHN will be sustained by the Covenant Student ministries for many years to come!

You Can Do it Too! 
My advice is to pick something you love and are extremely passionate about. I built incredible friends with these homeless kids during their stay and I wanted to give my peers an opportunity to do the same!  But most importantly, choose something that you personally see a need in. It’s crucial that you believe what you are doing is worthwhile and seeing the direct impact afterwards is the best feeling in the world.

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