The girls in Troop 30634 led by Andrea Hinojosa call themselves “Green Teens”. They are on their third year of a “Challenge and Change” project funded by the USDA and the impact has been significant.
It all started in 2010, when Hinojosa (a star on her own right) who serves as executive director of the Southeast Georgia Communities Project (SEGCP), became the Girl Scout troop leader for the girls in the agency’s teen group SUAVE (Students United Against Violence Everywhere). At that time, the teen group started to focus on leadership development through social entrepreneurship and they focused on two distinct projects:
a) Domestic Violence Prevention. The girls realized the programs were not addressing the root cause which was dating violence among teens. They wanted to get the message out to their peers that domestic violence can stop with them. They made and sold beaded bracelets with “ribbon” charms using the color purple to build domestic violence awareness. They distributed their bracelets and domestic violence prevention educational materials to women in the local domestic violence shelter. They set up displays and distributed information at Health Fairs and community gatherings. They recorded a domestic violence awareness PSA. They learned how to make their business self-sustaining with proceeds from selling the bracelets being used to buy more supplies, and the balance to provide food at the holidays and shoes for children from families affected by domestic violence.
b) Helping Diabetics through a healthier diet: SEGCP had a program that reached out to diabetics with medical supplies and diabetes prevention education. All of the girls’ families had been touched by this issue.
Working with Hinojosa, the girls realized that healthier eating would have a major impact on the problem. This is how the project began.
Working in partnership with Southeast Georgia Communities Project (SEGCP) in Lyons, GA, the “Green Teens” have been growing over 1,000 pounds of vegetables each year in a community garden and distributing them to diagnosed diabetics in the community to encourage them to eat more fresh vegetables, which are often too expensive for them to afford, or customarily not part of their diets.
The girls also teach the women how to cook traditional Hispanic foods in healthier ways and show how to make healthy snacks at community fairs.
The impact has been significant. They recently learned that one of the recipients of their vegetables who had been making constant visits to the emergency room in diabetic crisis was now managing his diet and no longer in need of frequent trips to the ER
The “Green Teens” are now learning how to measure community outcomes resulting from their work. If this is not the best example of learning leadership through service, I don’t know what is.
For more information about the “Green Teens” Girl Scout Troop and the the SEGCP, please call 912- 526-5451.