As the pandemic continues to affect the lives of foster children across Los Angeles County, Stevenson Ranch resident Riley Blaugrund chose to inspire hope and creativity in these kids while completing her Gold Award project.
The Gold Award, comparable to the Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle Scout, is awarded to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually and is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, according to Girl Scouts of the USA.
In L.A. County alone, more than 33,000 children are living in foster care, with their juvenile dependency cases handled by one of two L.A. County Superior Courts countywide.
The West Ranch High School senior wanted to assist the foster children in her community by helping them relax during a very stressful day in the courthouse, so she traveled to Shelter Care at the Edmund D. Edelman’s Children’s Courthouse in Monterey Park, which sees 60-90 foster children each day.
These kids spend hours in Shelter Care, a division of the courthouse, while waiting to see the judge, meet with lawyers and watch their guardians arrange custody schedules.
In order to make their time in the courthouse more positive, Blaugrund wanted to find a way for these kids to access their creativity and imagination, creating skills that they could use through their lifetime.
Blaugrund developed a plan, raised money and gathered donations to remodel the media room, making it more modern, organized and fun, giving foster youth the tools to write, direct and perform plays while there.
Blaugrund also framed movie posters, provided a treasure box full of prizes and donated DVDs for the center.
In addition, Blaugrund enlisted the help of three friends to paint a mural to spread hope to those who visit the room.
The message, “Hope is the promise that anything is possible,” by Randi G. Fine, is the last thing families see as they exit Shelter Care.
“My Gold Award is by far one of my favorite experiences I have had as a Girl Scout and as a high school student,” Blaugrund said. “I was able to directly create and influence positive change in my community through this project, and I am so thankful for the opportunity.”
For Blaugrund, who has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, the experience has allowed her to make lifelong friends and memories while learning leadership, project management and entrepreneurial skills.