2010-06-24 / Front Page

Six complete service projects to get the Gold

East Brunswick Township councilwomen (l-r) Camille Ferraro and Nancy Pinkin congratulate Gold Award recipients Danica Cotov, Allyson Burke, Joy Stoffers, Nicole Bornkamp, Chandler Navara and Joanna Schaff. Mayor David Stahl honored the girls, all residents of the township, with a proclamation. East Brunswick Township councilwomen (l-r) Camille Ferraro and Nancy Pinkin congratulate Gold Award recipients Danica Cotov, Allyson Burke, Joy Stoffers, Nicole Bornkamp, Chandler Navara and Joanna Schaff. Mayor David Stahl honored the girls, all residents of the township, with a proclamation. EAST BRUNSWICK — Township officials recently honored six local Girl Scouts who received their Gold Awards, the highest award possible in the Girl Scouts organization.

The girls, who are with the East Brunswick Service Unit, part of the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey, each completed unique service projects.

• Allyson Burke of Troop 81186 completed “Get Lost! — In Nature,” inspired by “No Child Left Inside,” a national back-tonature movement that reconnects children with the outdoors. Allyson researched and wrote a detailed informational booklet on six state parks and created plans, activities and rewards to entice children and adults to get outside and interact with nature.

Allyson, who worked in cooperation with state parks officials, highlighted what was special and unique about each site, including natural resources, history, cultural assets and recreational uses. The parks highlighted are Allaire, Cheesequake, Double Trouble, Forest Resource Education Center, Island Beach, and Monmouth Battlefield. The project is featured at friendsofislandbeach. com.

Allyson will attend Kean University in the fall.

• Nicole Bornkamp of Troop 80894 completed “Fun Ways to Stay Active and Healthy.” As an active teen with the goal of studying pediatrics, Nicole was alarmed by news of high levels of childhood obesity across the county. She decided to encourage children to develop better eating habits and taught them fun and simple ways to be active outside.

Nicole organized and led a team of volunteers in a day of outdoor games. She taught backyard-style games to almost 35 children. To make the experience easy to repeat at home, she selected games that did not require any equipment. She also discussed the need for hydration while exercising and got feedback about everyone’s favorite games. The second part of her project was to present healthy and fun snack workshops to middle and high school students, showing that healthy choices are a realistic snack option.

Nicole will attend Princeton University in the fall.

• Danica Cotov of Troop 81186 completed the project “Finding Your Voice: Helping Children with Selective Mutism.” Danica wanted to give a voice to those whose own sometimes fails them. In cases of selective mutism, a child may want to speak but is too nervous to do so. Danica created a speech and presentation for elementary school educators to help them understand the little-known disorder and inform them of available resources. She also wrote and produced a pamphlet to help parents identify signs of the disorder and to inform them of where to turn for help.

Danica also wrote and illustrated a book, “Simon Says ... At Last,” drawing from her own experiences. The book is for children who may have a selectively mute child in their class. Danica wants to help children better understand some of the struggles a classmate with the disorder faces, and why it may be hard for them to simply “fit in” at school.

Danica will attend Bryn Mawr College in the fall.

• Joy Stoffers of Troop 80041 completed the project “Dancing for Fitness and Fun.” News reports on the lifelong dangers of childhood obesity inspired Joy to use her talent and skill as a dancer to help battle this trend. Healthy eating, a good self-image, and exercise are essential to living well, so she incorporated these aspects in her project. She worked with children and teens on proper nutrition and healthier snack options, providing information they could use in their daily lives.

Knowing that strong self-esteem is a component of good health, she helped build the children’s self-confidence through the beauty of art in its physical form. In addition to teaching participants basic dancing techniques, Joy taught dance routines to children in different age groups. She recruited girls from her dance troupe and other dancers to assist in teaching the programs. Joy also reached out to children with disabilities and provided a similar program on good nutrition and an introduction to the enjoyment of dance.

Joy will attend Rutgers University in the fall.•

Chandler Navara of Troop 80041 completed the project “Chandler & the Young Charity Players.” The goal was to raise awareness about the Daisy Recreation program, which provides disabled children and young adults with opportunities to interact and socialize with their peers in a safe, fun and developmentally appropriate way.

This project had personal meaning to Chandler. Having an uncle who is mentally handicapped, she had a special interest in trying to increase understanding and support for disabled people and their families. Programs like the one Daisy provides were not around when her uncle was younger. As part of her project, Chandler worked with the East Brunswick Young Adult Charity Players as a media correspondent for their summer play, which benefits the Daisy Recreation Program. She was also involved with creating the scenery, props and costumes. She led the stagehands in three successful, sold-out performances. By using the local newspaper, cable television station, fliers and posters, Chandler was able to educate the community about the mission of the Daisy recreation program and other programs for disabled people. Chandler’s project was successful in increasing awareness and interest in volunteering for the Daisy program.

Chandler will attend Lehigh University in the fall.

• Joanna Schaff of Troop 81199 completed the project “Take the Shackles Off.” Joanna is passionate about freedom and does not want anyone to take it for granted. She feels that too few people are aware that slavery is an issue in the modern day. To bring that message to the public, she put together a project to educate children and adults about modern slavery and what can be done to help end it.

Since slavery is an intense and emotional issue, she incorporated the arts as a teaching tool and method of expression. Joanna held many age-appropriate information sessions for students in elementary school through high school on the theme of freedom, or the lack of freedom. She wrote the lesson plans, put together information sheets for parents, and created a free website on how to teach children about slavery. Each session included time for individual expression in the form of poetry, illustration, or painting, which became the central piece in the culminating event. She hosted an art and poetry show that featured her students’ works. Joanna used the event as an additional forum for informational displays and a talk by featured speaker Jamé Bolds, founder and president of compassionnewjersey.

Joanna will be a senior at East Brunswick High School in the fall.

Silver and Bronze

Also, the following Scouts received their Silver Awards: Cassandra Aran, Natasha Berk, Jessie Bortnick, Stephanie Hichens, Christina Lau, Jennifer Lee, Angelina Morales, Amanda Sanders, Tara Tamborino, Emily Kincaid, Kathleen Hoffman and Deepti Ravi.

Bronze Awards went to Hallie Baum, Jacqueline Evangelista, Lauren Gerbereux, Karalyn Hoover, Elissa Khoudary, Danielle Lozzi, Sophia Moccio, Jessica Lew, Brianna Maung, Dominique Perrotta, Julianna Illenye, Jessica Sapia, Ridhi Vakharia, Simran Bhatia, Caroline Decker, Emily Laird, Erin McDonald, Elizabeth Mignano, Amanda Russo and Courtney Ur.

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