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Learn more about earning the Gold Award.
The 2009 Gold Award Recipients
Meghan Barbour, Newtown - For her Gold Award project, Meghan created Sensory Learning Boxes for a special needs class in Newtown. She built a wooden tactile box for each student and spent a day in their classroom introducing them to the boxes. Meghan's Sensory Learning Boxes will continue to be used for educational purposes in the special needs class.
Christine Barry, Prospect - For her Gold Award project, Christine created a nature trail for members of the Prospect community to enjoy. The trail features several points of interest, natural sitting areas, and a natural stepping stone bridge. Christine hopes her nature trail will be available to the community to enjoy for many years to come.
Jennifer Blank, Wallingford - For her Gold Award project, Jennifer created a take-home packet filled with helpful homework hints for fourth graders and their parents. The packets provide assistance with homework in the areas of math, reading and writing.
Nicole Bruno, Glastonbury - For her Gold Award project, Nicole taught creative movement classes to underprivileged preschoolers attending a Head Start program in East Hartford. She created her own lesson plans focusing on imagination through the use of basic motor movements while introducing the students to the world of dance. Nicole also collected CDs and musical instruments for the school, further enriching their program.
Jennifer Caplan, Greenwich - For Jennifer's Gold Award project, she designed and implemented a horticultural therapy program to accommodate clients with an array of abilities at a local adult daycare. The popular program allowed participants to plant and tend a vegetable garden while they reaped the health benefits of exercise and healthy eating as they prepared the fruits of their labor. Jennifer was asked to come back the following year to replicate her project.
Mary Ellen Costello, Weston - Thanks to Mary's Gold Award project, the Weston Historical Society now has several residents' oral histories in their town archives. Mary interviewed Weston residents who had lived in town for over 50 years. She compiled the information into a reference book and presented it to the town's historical society for future generations to enjoy.
Christina Craig, Wallingford - Christina helped create a perennial garden for the residents of the Masonic Health Care Center in Wallingford. The courtyard garden paths and benches allow residents to make full use of this outdoor space and will brighten their lives for years to come.
Chelsea Davis, Glastonbury - Kindergarten students at Naubuc Elementary school benefited from Chelsea's recycling themed project. Chelsea recruited her peers to participate in an informational movie that she wrote, directed and edited. She then brought the film and hands-on recycling activities to the school to teach the students about the environment and recycling.
Courtney Dinnan, Hamden - Courtney's interests in cross-country and teaching influenced her Gold Award project to educate her community on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. After speaking with doctors and a nutritionist, Courtney created a presentation and brochure for students explaining the benefits of exercise and good nutrition. She shared her information, along with an exercise demonstration, at Hamden's Brooksvale Park Festival.
Michelle DiPinto, Burlington - For her Gold Award project, Michelle created Expanding Horizons, a middle school program using bible passages and cooperative activities to build and improve leadership skills in an interactive and fun manner. Her program continues through a website and a resource box full of activities in her local library.
Natasha Estrada, Wallingford - For her Gold Award project, Natasha transformed her church's nursery room into a welcoming place for its youngest members. She replaced the worn carpeting with easy to clean laminate flooring, and painted a Noah's Ark mural on the wall, creating a warm and friendly environment for worship.
Melissa Ferguson, Coventry - Melissa's Gold Award project gave local 4-H members the skills, confidence, and network of support to bring them to the Big E in Springfield, MA. She developed and ran a Sheep Fitting and Showmanship Clinic, teaching exhibition skills to the participants while creating a network of experienced exhibitors.
Michelle Finan, Westport - For Michelle's Gold Award project, she planned and ran a three-week summer program at St. John's Episcopal Church in Bridgeport. Michelle's "Summer Fun" program provided a fun, safe environment for four to six year olds in which to play and do arts & crafts while their parents were at work. She also created a guide for her program so the church would be able to continue the camp in the future.
Sara Flood, Brookfield - Helping to get girls active in her community, Sara created and coached a 17-week baton twirling program for local elementary school students. During a series of sessions, girls perfected a dance twirl routine choreographed by Sara. Participants in Sara's program performed in Brookfield's Memorial Day Parade and she was asked to plan two additional programs for the town.
Marcia Foti, Greenwich - For her Gold Award project, Marcia developed the curriculum and collected materials for a four-day Bible camp in the Dominican Republic. Children aged 3-12 years enjoyed crafts, skits and sports with volunteers from Trinity Church. In the future, others planning the camp can rely on the manual Marcia created and donated to the church.
Sarah Furie, Windsor - For her Gold Award project, Sarah educated her community about the ramifications of sleep deprivation. Her DVD and power point presentation to middle and high school students and parents, combined information from local health care providers and teachers with information gleaned from two sleep deprived high school students.
Bridget Hegarty, Brookfield - For her Gold Award project, Bridget chose to increase awareness of the challenges faced by teens with celiac disease. She developed a website and a booklet to educate the public on the disease and the special issues teens face who are afflicted with celiac disease. The booklet was distributed through local schools and was sent to the local celiac support group to assist them in supporting teens with the disease.
Amanda Hershman, Woodbridge - For her Gold Award project, Amanda focused on local teens in need. Amanda teamed up with the Umbrella Program Against Domestic Violence to create a Teen Corner at My Sister's Place, a local consignment shop. Amanda collected stylish clothes from her community and developed a clothing voucher system offering teens in crisis the opportunity to pick out new and gently used clothes to wear to school, helping them to feel good about themselves during a difficult time in their lives.
Melissa Hodgins, Mansfield - For her Gold Award project, Melissa organized a Health and Nutrition Expo, reaching out to families in her Storrs community. Parents and children learned ways to live healthier through exercise and healthy eating. Melissa also designed a booklet to help connect families to helpful resources within their neighborhood.
Stephanie Hopkins, Glastonbury - For her project, Stephanie worked to bring her Glastonbury community together to further an understanding of various faiths. She recorded interviews with followers from nine different religions and held a forum at local libraries to share her findings and prompt enlightening discussions. Stephanie donated copies of the interviews to local schools and the public library.
Sara Hutton, Monroe - Sara's goal for her Gold Award project was to keep middle school students interested in literature. She participated in the opening of Monroe's new public library and created an "Author of the Month" informational display for the event. She also designed a book review binder for teens to write their own book reviews and read other's reviews as well. The binders were placed in three Monroe libraries.
Kimberly Kinsman, Ridgefield - For her Gold Award project, Kimberly designed a program for fourth graders in Ridgefield stressing the importance of resource conservation and the benefits of recycling. Her program included a power point presentation, discussion, and a craft project using recycled materials. In addition, students were able to take home a packet of information to share with their families.
Madeline Luddy, Berlin - For her Gold Award project, Madeline created a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere at her high school in Berlin where students were able to express themselves and share their creativity with their peers. Teens were invited to perform music and/or poetry in this safe environment.
Elizabeth Mahoney, Meriden - Thanks to Elizabeth, many young children in the Meriden area now know the proper way to behave in the library. For her Gold Award project, Elizabeth wrote and recorded a puppet play demonstrating appropriate library behavior. Copies of the play were distributed to the public library for educational purposes as well as to local elementary schools.
Katie Malvaso, Norwalk - For her Gold Award project, Katie created an informational brochure and gave a presentation on domestic abuse for the staff at Girl Scouts of Connecticut's Camp Aspetuck. She also supplied bags of toiletries, coloring books and crayons for the women and children in the Norwalk Domestic Violence Crisis Center. Additionally, Katie supplied the details of her project to other Girl Scouts so they could use it for future programs.
Jessica Merlo, Ledyard - For her Gold Award project, Jessica combined her musical knowledge with an interest in community service, and created a Music Mentoring program at her high school. Upperclassmen mentored middle school students and underclassmen each week, helping to create more confident musicians and strengthening the school's music program.
Jessica Moore, Greenwich - Jessica created The Notes Club to provide musical instruction to students at a local elementary school for her Gold Award project. She partnered high school mentors with younger students based on instrument type. Over the course of the program, mentors offered weekly private practice lessons and music theory to their younger students. The program supplied opportunities to underprivileged elementary school students and created a new relationship between the elementary and high schools.
Rebecca Morea, Ledyard - Rebecca focused her efforts on saving energy and many senior citizens from the Senior Housing in Ledyard have her to thank for their lower energy bills. After doing an energy audit of the housing site and assessing their needs, Rebecca returned with energy efficient materials such as sealants and light bulbs to meet those needs.
Alexa Muri, Burlington - Alexa helped refurbish and preserve an abandoned one-room school house in her Burlington community for her Gold Award project. The desks were refinished and the building was painted and cleaned. She also created a scripted school day program entitled "A Day in the Life of a Colonial Student," to help visitors to the school learn about its history.
Lauren Nash, Southbury - Lauren's interest in music and dedication to her church inspired her Gold Award project. She introduced a complete computerized system for the church's musical library, making it easier to locate pieces now and in the future. She also choreographed and directed a multi-generational musical, bringing together choirs for fun and fellowship.
Chibogu Nneka Nzekwu, Monroe - Noticing that the music program in her school was decreasing in size, Nneka decided to organize a series of Strings Workshops for seventh and eigth grade students for her Gold Award project. Taught by volunteer high school students, the popular workshops introduced younger children to various types of instruments and proved that making music can be fun, inspiring, and cool!
Emily Pearson, South Windsor - For her Gold Award project, Emily designed and created an interactive and comfortable atmosphere for children at the East Hartford Community Shelter. She helped make the transition for children coming into the shelter a little easier by providing a safe environment for them to play and develop appropriate age level learning skills.
Anne Piccolo, Greenwich - For her Gold Award project, Anne designed, advertised, and hosted a forum to educate Greenwich residents on energy conservation. The event brought together a variety of organizations and companies, displaying a wide range of conservation issues and options, including the Connecticut Clean Energy Program and a representative who specializes in solar power energy options. The majority of the participants said they would sign up for clean energy options as a result of the forum.
Jessica Plate, New Fairfield - Jessica's interest in history inspired her Gold Award project. She created a book of oral histories and photographs of her town and donated it to the Preserve New Fairfield organization. She was also able to bring history to life, and introduce her new book, when she built an old fashioned lemonade stand to supply free lemonade during the town's Fourth of July parade.
Katelyn Raymond, Ridgefield - High School girls in the Danbury area were able to attend their proms in free, stylish gowns thanks to Katelyn's Gold Award project. She organized a collection of formal dresses donated by students and local shops, and then held a distribution event at a local hotel. Katelyn also worked to make sure the program would continue through the Danbury High School guidance department.
Lauren Reinmann, Wallingford - Lauren created a free healthcare clinic for residents in the Wallingford area, recruiting doctors to volunteer their time for simple medical check-ups. Lauren also focused her project on healthcare education for families. She designed, promoted and implemented a healthcare seminar for residents in and around Wallingford. Thanks to her work, residents were able to gain vital knowledge on the availability of, and application process for, Husky Insurance, healthcare for uninsured youth.
Megan Reme, East Hartland - Thanks to her efforts, Megan's high school now has a paper recycling program. For her Gold Award project, Megan worked to create an informational brochure and spoke with members of her community to encourage 100 percent participation in the recycling program. Her paper recycling initiative was so successful that it has spawned other recycling programs for plastic, cardboard and cans within the school.
Lauren Rogers, Waterford - For her project, Lauren created an activity book with related lesson plans for the Vacation Bible School program at her local church. With Lauren's book, first and second graders were able to learn about events in Jesus' life through games, stories, colorful bulletin boards, and by creating their own coloring pages for children to use in future classes.
Megan Schwartz, Ridgefield - Megan's passion for dance inspired her Gold Award project. She organized and taught after school dance classes at a low income housing site in Danbury. She also managed a collection drive for dance costumes and choreographed a dance routine so her students could put on a performance for their families. Megan also created an instructional dance video for her students.
Rachel Schwartz, Ridgefield - Young patients at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center and Danbury Hospital will begin their stay with a cozy stuffed friend, thanks to Rachel's Gold Award project. Her Pediatric Hospital Doll Project involved designing and creating patterns for dolls sporting hospital gowns. Rachel presented the idea to her church and local middle school's consumer science departments and the school liked her project so much that they decided to incorporate it into their curriculum.
Saba Shahid, Naugatuck - For her Gold Award project, Saba created an art therapy program for Bridgeport Hospital's pediatric patients. She designed and organized a cart filled with art supplies for patients to express themselves and enjoy the comfort offered through the creation of their own artwork. She donated the cart and supplies to the hospital and painted ceiling tiles and "Find Me" canvases for future patients to enjoy.
Katherine Stansfield, Goshen - For her Gold Award project, Katherine helped to build a stronger group of altar servers at St. Thomas Church in Goshen. Katherine worked to recruit many new servers and then trained them with a complete Altar Servers Handbook that she created. She also renovated the back room of the church, creating much-need storage areas and helped to organize church materials.
Kristina Venieri, Greenwich - Kristina wanted to bring her love of science to fourth and fifth graders at Julian Curtiss Elementary School for her Gold Award project. So, she designed and implemented an after school science curriculum where participants enjoyed hands-on educational programs. The students participated in fun demonstrations designed to reinforce their knowledge of scientific theories and were given specially prepared binders detailing their experiments.
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