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Posted by:   Natalie on Feb 3, 2013
Town:         Ridgefield
Troop:        50450

What issue did your Take Action project address?
The issue that my Take Action project addressed was autism. Autism in children is rapidly increasing each year and it is unknown why. Autism cases could be on the rise for various reasons such that Autism is now being diagnosed for less serious cases than before, genetics, increased parent age, pesticides, and more. For my Sliver, I decided to help these children.

What was your Take Action Project? Who did you involve in your project?
My Take Action project was to write and illustrate a book to read and donate to autistic children at a local elementary school. These children were all involved in a program at their school called the RISE Program. I decided to write a book about two characters, Hearty and Smiley, who go to the beach and have a great day. To accomplish my project, I first met with a mom and her autistic son to get a better idea of what an autistic child might enjoy reading. In order to read the book to these children, I had to get permission from the principal of the school as well as the permission from the teacher for the autistic children. When I came in to meet with the principal and the teacher, they were so excited and enthusiastic about my project- I couldn't wait to get started! In order to raise the money to make copies of the book, I had two bake sales and I raised over $200 all together! Then, I was finally able to print the book to read to the children. The highlight of my project was definitely reading the book to the children. They really got into the book and connected with the characters, and with the story. It was so great to deliver this project - which I had spent so much time on - to them. I then donated the book to them, and they asked me to sign it, which I did, and dedicated it to them. The people who were involved in my project were my mom, who helped me establish relationships with the mom who helped me in the beginning stages, and with the elementary school principal, and she also got me the supplies to make my book; my sister, who helped me bake; Mrs. Doroughty, who, with her son, gave me ideas for my book; Mrs. Pembrook, who gave me permission to read the book at her school; and Mrs. Auger, who gave me permission to read the book to the children in the RISE Program.

What were the results? How did it affect the community?
The results were great! The children were definitely interested in the book, and they could easily relate to the characters. Once I had finished reading the book to them, I asked them some simple questions such as, "Who was your favorite character?" and "What activities do you like to do at the beach?" I really enjoyed hearing their answers, especially since a lot of their answers were activities that Hearty and Smiley did at the beach. They enjoyed it so much that they wanted me to read the book again! I received really positive comments from the teacher and from the helpers, too! To know that I was able to have such a positive affect on the students as well as the adults made me so happy! My project affected the community because the children in the RISE Program were able to tell their parents about the book that they read, and they now have a new book in their library which they and future students can read over and over again!

What did you learn from the experience?
I have always loved drawing, and I gained a new appreciation for it in illustrating my book. In fact, I even picked Art Foundation as my elective in school because I love drawing so much! Although I had to redraw several of the pictures in the book because I wasn't happy with the way that they came out on the first, or even the second try, I didn't get frustrated since I loved illustrating and writing the book so much! I know that I will always cherish the memory of reading to the RISE Program children. Although I still want to be a doctor, it would be so great to be a childrens author/ illustrator as a side job, and to someday have children of my own that I could draw for and write for.

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