[media-credit name=”Aimee Smith” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Weber State University senior Heidi Gordon recently held a donation drive with her 13-year-old daughter’s Girl Scout troop. The donations that were collected were delivered to St. Anne’s Center in Ogden.

The project was originally for the Gift of Caring patch that the Girl Scouts can earn. When people buy Girl Scout cookies, they can donate additional boxes to a charity. The troop had 48 boxes donated and could choose which organization to donate them to.

Gordon came up with the idea of donating to St. Anne’s Center after visiting the shelter in a social work class. The class, taught by Steven Vigil, was called Child and Family Welfare Policy.

“One day we lecture on theory and practice related to social work,” Vigil said. “Then the second day we take field trips out in the community so we can have students then see what social workers do.”

Gordon and the troop decided that St. Anne’s would be a good place to donate the cookies but wanted to do more. The girls handed out fliers asking for donations and two troop girls Sierra Lujan and Journey Wagstaff went door to door.

“Most people didn’t answer,” Lujan said, “but some said that they might donate.”

The troop also went through their own things and picked out things they could donate. “I had two bags full,” Wagstaff said.

Gordon also called yard sales advertised on KSL and got professors from the social work department to donate some things. The donations included clothing, shoes and even a television.

After the items were donated to the shelter, the troop was able to take a tour. This was all of the girl’s first times going to a shelter. The Ogden St. Anne’s shelter they visited only housed women and children. St. Anne’s has another shelter that men can live in.

Summer Rowher, the program director and also the person giving the tour, asked the troop things like “Why do you think the people are homeless?” She showed them where the families lived and where single women lived.

“It made me sad,” said Taylor Parish after seeing the shelter, “some people can have houses and some can’t.”

She was not the only one who felt that way after the visit.

“It made me want to cry,” said Meghan Conover.

Rowher told them the basics about how things work at the shelter. St. Anne’s  is currently the only shelter with programs to help the residents find jobs, get housing and medical care.

“You can put your position in their position,” said Kennedee Sharpe.

After the visit, the troop decided that they would adopt the shelter. This means that when they have a service project, they will do that project at St. Anne’s.

After the tour was over, Gordon asked the girls what they learned from going to the shelter. “Don’t pick on someone when you don’t know their background,” said Isabel Serna.

“They are not any different from us just because they don’t have a house,” said Brianna Pakenham.

Later in the year, the troop will be working on their Silver Award. This project will take a year to complete.

“It’s to help an organization in the community,” said one of the troop leaders April Pakenham. She said that they could do another donation drive, but it would have to be about 100 times bigger than this donation.

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