Girl Scouts of Western New York announced Emily Atieh, of Webster, as a 2018 Gold Award Girl Scout.
Atieh’s project was titled Conservation of Maleku Language in Costa Rica. The Maleku Tribe is an indigenous matriarchal tribe located in central Costa Rica. Atieh visited in February 2016 with a school group for community service. She learned how vital the Maleku language is to the preservation of the culture of the indigenous tribe. Few of those tribe members living on the Maleku reserve can speak the Maleku language, and fewer can write it.
“I developed learning materials in Maleku for children in the form of alphabet books and blocks to address this issue and promote literacy and language preservation. These materials have been shipped down to the Maleku Tribal Office in Costa Rica and will be distributed to about 100 children in the three main villages and schools on the Maleku reservation, which are Guatuso, Palenque las Margaritas and Palenque el Sol, as well as those living deeper within the rainforest,” said Atieh.
She hopes that her Gold Award project will promote the spread of the Maleku language in the young local children and prompt them to want to learn Maleku and continue to pass on the tradition of their indigenous language.
“The preservation of the Maleku culture and language is not only vital to the livelihood of those within the tribe, but is also a priceless cultural resource to the rest of the world,” said Atieh.
“Girl Scouting has allowed me to create strong connections with other young women, gain valuable leadership skills and travel internationally,” said Atieh.
The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouts.
The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into “going for the gold.” A Girl Scout’s project should be something that a girl can be passionate about — in thought, deed and action that encompasses organizational, leadership and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl’s community — whether local or global — and create change that has the potential to be ongoing or sustainable. About 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and to enter the military a full rank higher than her peers.
The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
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