accomplishments

On Jan. 5, seven members of Troop 30986, of Pleasanton, were awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award. The ceremony was held at the Veterans Memorial Hall and was attended by Karla Brown, a Pleasanton City Council member, and four Girl Scout Gold Award Coordinators from The Girl Scouts of Northern California.

Derusha Baskaran, a senior at Amador Valley High School, received a Gold Award for her project on "Wii-hab" for physical therapy patients using the Wii gaming system to help the patients regain and sharpen their motor skills, balance and coordination. She also held a teaching session where she taught physical therapists how to use the Wii.

Sara Borchers' Gold Award project was called "A Note to Follow." Sara organized and trained a group of Pleasanton's most talented high school musicians at both high schools to give free, one-on-one lessons to 30 fifth-graders who had never had private lessons. Her goal was to foster positive interaction between advanced and beginner musicians. All 30 beginners received eight weekly, half-hour lessons. Sara conducted them in a concert and used the $430 raised to ship music supplies to a sister school in Joplin, Mo.


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Morgan Ingram's Gold Award was for a holiday party for underprivileged children in Pleasanton and Livermore. The event took place Dec. 8 at the Veteran's Hall in Pleasanton. After attending a magic show hosted by the American Legion, the children were broken up into groups and visited six stations with Santa, books, snacks, crafts, presents and cookie decorations. By the end of the event each child had a gift, at least three books they chose themselves, a new blanket and a present donated by Girl Scout troops that had "adopted" each child. Each family also received a basket of food and a bag of school supplies.

Sunyoung Kye completed her Gold Award project in 2011 with a holiday party ("Frosty Festival") in Richmond. She led a successful event for more than 150 underprivileged children who made crafts, took pictures with Santa and visited cookie decorating and face painting stations. Everyone left with gifts donated by troops, socks filled with goodies, backpacks with school supplies, blankets and food baskets.

Meghana Vijayraghavan's project for the Gold Award was called "Flat Stanley for Seniors." After her grandmother came to live with her two years ago, Meghana felt that she needed to do something to help foster a relationship between older and younger people. Her project involved meeting with seniors, taking their photos and sending them to the young people in their lives. The students took picture of themselves, each holding the photo of their seniors and wrote a brief description of the activity. These moments were then sent back to Meghana, who organized a group of younger people to help her put together the pictures into a little booklet. These captured moments were presented to each of the seniors.

Claire Williams, a senior at Amador Valley High School, completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by organizing a "Winter Wonderland" holiday celebration for 131 Alameda County foster care families in 2011. Claire had volunteered to help foster care children in the past with the "Foster A Dream" program. The day was complete with Santa, elves, cookie decorating and crafts. Each child was given a new coat, a backpack full of school supplies, a blanket, book and a stocking filled with goodies.

Sarah Williams, a sophomore at Scripps College, earned her Gold Award in 2010 by founding the "Creative Kindness" project. Sarah was inspired after reading "Hope's Boy" by Andrew Bridge. She became compelled to act and solicited help from schools, senior centers, Girl Scouts and others to make fleece blankets for foster care children. More than 20,000 blankets have been distributed through Sarah's "pay it forward" legacy kits; each kit contains enough fleece material, scissors, pattern pieces and instructions to make one blanket. Sarah hopes Creative Kindness will help bring awareness and assistance to foster children everywhere.

military

Army National Guard Pfc. Robert A. Gilbert has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning near Columbus, Ga. He is the son of Robert Gilbert, of San Ramon, and a 2012 graduate of Dougherty Valley High School.

Air Force Airman Danielle M. Vargas graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas. She is the daughter of Elizabeth Salcido-Vargas and Stan Vargas, of San Ramon. She is a 2010 graduate of California High School.

Contact Louise Hartman at 925-847-2111, by e-mail at vtletters@bayareanewsgroup.com or send a fax to 925-847-2189.