Barbie Butters saw her Girl Scout gold award project come full circle Monday when she delivered foster-care bags to Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, a nonprofit children’s mental health and welfare agency in Pasadena.
Barbie, 16, is a student at Glendale High School and a member of troop 826 in the Girl Scouts’ Mt. Wilson Vista Council. After months of preparation and fundraising, she and her mother, Beverly, delivered 50 bags full of hygienic supplies and comfort items to the Hathaway-Sycamores office, where they will be given away to children as they are placed in a foster home.
“My hat really goes off to her,” said Virginia Montoya, the foster care liaison at Hathaway-Sycamores.
The gold award, the highest-ranked award in Girl Scouts, is given to girls who have fulfilled a need in their community through an independent project of their choice.
“It’s pretty much what Girl Scouts is all about,” Barbie said.
The focus of Barbie’s project developed when she found out about Hathaway-Sycamores.
She decided to dedicate her project toward helping foster-care children feel welcomed and comforted in their new home.
“I thought it was a great project to work on,” Barbie said. “I hope someone else can pick up on it.”
After her project was approved to be a gold award project by the Girl Scouts Council, Barbie began approaching community organizations to ask for donations.
The response was overwhelming: Among other donations, doctors donated toothpaste and toothbrushes, while Han’s Beauty Store donated nail polish and hair products.
“I never knew that people were so generous,” Barbie said.
Midway through planning her project, Barbie attended the Hathaway-Sycamores Christmas party in December, where she got to meet some of the foster children placed in a home by the organization.
Along with a few fellow Girl Scouts, Barbie organized an arts-and-crafts table to entertain the children at the event.
Listening to foster children talk about their appreciation toward their foster families gave Barbie a glimpse into where all of her hard work was going.
“I’m glad to be able to provide for my community,” she said. “It makes you feel good.”
In the end, Barbie raised $1,200, resulting in 50 bags packed full of a variety of items.
Bags for girls included both basic supplies and fun accessories, such as teddy bears, magazines and nail polish.
Boys’ welcome bags included shaving cream, a sketch pad and DVDs. Blankets included in all of the bags were made with the help of a younger Girl Scout troop that Barbie recruited to participate.
Linda Cormier, Barbie’s Girl Scout troop leader, has watched Barbie grow since she first joined the troop in first grade.
“This project has given her confidence,” Cormier said.
Montoya similarly recognized Barbie’s maturity.
“The things that she’s done, organizing the bags, is phenomenal,” she said. “For a girl of 16, she’s really got it together.”