GSCCC Brownie Girl Scout, Brynleigh Elliott, worked over the summer on a religious pin titled “My Faith, My Promise.” While working on the pin requirements, Brynleigh interviewed her Godmother (and aunt) Nicki Chernish, and discovered she volunteers in the NICU wing of her local hospital. Brynleigh’s discovery left her wanting to help provide her aunt some support.
Chernish’s volunteer work is the delivery of new books to fellow premie parents during their stay in NICU. Many of these parents are unable to spend much time holding their newborn and long for a way to bond with the premie child. The gift of a book helps each parent feel support during this time of great emotional stress. The parent is encouraged to read aloud to their child to aid with bonding. The books delivered are part of the Open Arms program at a local hospital. Specifically, the book cart is called Aidan’s Book Corner, which was begun to honor a dear friend’s son Aidan (a premie who died shortly after birth).
Brynleigh’s support efforts began in November. She presented the idea of a book drive at the monthly leader meeting of Girl Scout troops in Ventura’s Island View Service Unit. Brynleigh’s goal was to collect at least one new book from each troop in her service unit. Brynleigh also reached out to troops with a video request, posted through social media. She promised a participation patch to any Girl Scout who donated a book.
Many troops participated and donated many more than simply one book. In fact, Brynleigh surpassed her original goal, and was able to collect a grand total of 92 new books to donate. The books traveled with Brynleigh during Christmas vacation and were recently delivered to the Aidan’s Book Corner cart at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis, IN. Brynleigh is pleased to have been able to make a difference so far from home. She feels proud to be an example of the Girl Scout Law’s promise to “make the world a better place.”