Every day Girl Scouts are hard at work to build a better world through community service and volunteering. In fact, 187,500 volunteer service hours were donated back to the community this year alone by River Valleys’ Girl Scouts taking action. Whether they are building planter boxes for the elderly, creating and teaching art classes in underserved schools, or volunteering their time at a homeless shelter — Girl Scouts are truly building a better world.
Empowering girls one dress at a time is the hope for 15-year-old Girl Scout Lexi, who started a project to sew and donate more than 1,000 t-shirt dresses to orphanages across the world. Lexi set out to change the lives of as many girls around the world as she could with her Gold Award project, “Dress for A Change.”
As she tuned into recent news reports, Lexi became more aware of the growing refugee crisis around the world and wondered how she could help the girls in those communities who lost their parents or were without a home. After hours of research and planning, Lexi found Light of Hope, an orphanage and school for underprivileged girls in Kenya. From there she began her initiative to sew and send T-shirt dresses to orphanages located in Haiti, Kenya, Uganda, and Senegal.
By selling more than 4,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, she was able to purchase over 1,000 new t-shirts to make into dresses. Lexi gathered support from the West Quilt Guild of Plymouth and the Creative Sewing Centers of Minnetonka, who donated 120 yards of fabric for the skirts and hundreds of hours of sewing to create the dresses.
“It means a lot to me that my project is reaching vulnerable girls in poor countries, empowering them, and teaching them that they can be leaders too.” – Lexi
More than just providing a dress, Lexi wanted to ensure that these orphaned girls have the same opportunities she had to learn, grow, and become leaders in their community. After realizing how Girl Scouts helped her grow in confidence, taught her life skills, and provided educational opportunities, Lexi wanted all these things for girls who also may need it.
Along with each dress, Lexi included a letter to the girls and sewed on a badge to each skirt in an effort to inspire them to learn more about their own local Girl Guides organization. By sharing the skills and opportunities she gained through Girl Scouts in each letter, Lexi hopes girls will feel confident to take the lead in their lives and in their communities.
“My hope and dream for little girls in orphanages is to empower them and give them the same opportunity I had to join Girl Scouts and earn the same type of badges as me,” said Lexi. “I also hope they seek a better life for themselves.”
On September 5, after a summer of sewing, Lexi and her team finally shipped out and delivered 1,072 dresses to four orphanages abroad! Since then, the “Dress for a Change” project has partnered with Heshima Kenya’s Safe House Program for young refugee girls in east Africa, and will continue to create a supportive community of sewers to continue to empower refugee girls across the globe.
Girl Scouts are building a better world—as well the confidence and life skills of thousands of girls. After the project, Lexi discovered her own abilities to take on a huge project and watch it succeed. Lexi led teams of all sizes in order to make this project come to life, she now has the skills and confidence to continue dreaming big!
“Girl Scouts has taught me leadership skills that I know I can take with me into the future, to continue to make a difference in the world,” says Lexi.
For Lexi, tackling the challenges, overcoming obstacles, and learning together on this project helped her develop a sense for her future possibilities. Through “Dress for A Change,” she was able to discover her abilities and grow her own skills needed to continue taking a lead role in her life and the world.
“I learned a lot from the women who sewed with and for me. I believe that my project helped change the world, one girl at a time. The Girl Scout Gold Award is by far the most challenging award I have ever embarked on, and it has on its merit returned the highest reward.”
Girls Scouts Build a Better World
We need programs like Girl Scouts to help girls discover their abilities, grow their confidence, and find their voice – without it, girls may not see themselves as capable leaders who can build a better world every day.
By supporting Girl Scouts, you help girls like Lexi realize their potential and work to build a better world. You can ensure the girls in your community have the right tools to change the world by donating on Give to the Max Day, November 17.
Join us as we build a better world together and help all girls give to their max on #GTMD16.