When 9-year-old Dakota Holguin, a Junior Girl Scout in Troop No. 1936, was deciding what kind of service project to do for her Bronze Award, it was an easy decision for her.
“I chose Bridge to Home because I felt homeless people don’t get the respect they deserve, and I thought little goodie bags would help them,” she said.
The Bronze Award, which is given to Scouts who do community service to give to something bigger than themselves, is also the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can achieve.
“She always likes to give back to people less fortunate than herself,” her mother and troop leader Alina Holguin said.
When deciding exactly what to do, Dakota said she wanted to make something everyone needs and normally uses, which is why she decided to create hygiene kits for Bridge to Home, which provides support and shelter services to those in need.
After calling Bridge to Home and finding out that approximately 60 to 100 people come through their facility each day, Alina asked Dakota how many kits she’d like to make.
“She said, ‘Well, I want to do 100 then,’” Alina said.
This year is the first time Bridge to Home has been able to stay open past March, extending the shelter until July 31, so shelter manager Nicole Feast-Williams said the donations are coming at an opportune time.
Alina had Dakota do the research herself to decide exactly what she wanted to put in the kits, and told her daughter to ask herself, “What would you really want if you were homeless?”
They then set to work hunting for supplies to fill the goodie bags, creating fliers, posting on Facebook, going door to door and even selling candy to purchase supplies on Amazon.
Each kit contains toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, lotion, hand sanitizer or wipes, chapstick, combs, a protein bar and candy.
With the help of her little sister Bridget Linkes, Dakota packed each goodie bag, which Dakota said took a long time. In fact, between getting donations and packing each kit, Dakota invested more than 20 hours of work in accomplishing the project, according to Alina.
Finally, it was time to deliver her kits to Bridge to Home. Afterward, they gave Dakota a tour of the facility and showed them some of the dorms where she met a woman who used to be a Girl Scout herself, she said. The woman even recited the Girl Scout Law for Dakota, which she thought was cool.
“It was a special moment for (Dakota) and the client,” Feast-Williams said. “Many who donate don’t get to see what the shelter entails and what we do, so it was really nice to show her how her hygiene kits will be helpful to our clients. It was a good time. They were so sweet and I’m very proud of them.”
Dakota is already thinking of her next project, and thinks for her Silver Award she “might clean up the community a little.”