Local girls get Scouts' top award

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

Newton - Project Self-Sufficiency recently helped over 100 local families prepare for the new school year through the annual Back-to-School Fair, held at Hillside Park in Andover. Attendees received valuable information on parenting skills and resources, got free school supplies, enjoyed a variety of fun games and activities, pizza dinner and snacks n all at no charge. Many groups and individuals came together to make this event a success, including Cat Heavener and Alyssa Paczkowski, of Green Girls Scouts Troop 911. Heavener, a senior at Morris Hills Catholic High School, and Paczkowski, a senior at Newton High School, earned the Girl Scouts’ prestigious Gold Award by assisting in the creation and planning of the fair. Both Paczkowski and Heavener have been involved in the Girl Scouts since kindergarten, and knew they wanted to take on a special project for their latest challenge. Attending the fair with their mothers, Pat Heavener and Beth Paczkowski, both girls expressed pride in their work with the fair. “We wanted to bring together children for a back-to-school event, provide information booths on services and organizations, and provide children with school supplies and a day of fun activities before school began,” said Heavener. Paczkowski quickly added, “We specifically wanted to help children start the school year on a positive note.” The Gold Award. highest honor in Girl scouting, has many challenging requirements, culminating in a community service project involving a minimum of 50 hours of planning and volunteer time. The Back-to-School Fair fit the bill n and allowed the girls to practice the Girl Scouts values and give something back to the community. “What Cat and Alyssa accomplished is nothing short of amazing,” said Deborah Berry-Toon, Project Self-Sufficiency executive director. “Together, they coordinated all the games and activities, as well as snacks ...Their enthusiasm for community service and their obvious compassion for families in need should serve as an inspiration to us all.” For information on Project Self-Sufficiency, 973-383-5129.