HOUSTON – In honor of World Kindness Day we’re celebrating with an amazing example of service. Oftentimes, when we see a problem in our community, we don’t do much to fix it. That was not the case for local Girl Scout Abigail Plunkett, whose act of kindness turned into a service project that earned her the title of National Gold Award Girl Scout.
“The Gold Award for Girl Scouts is the highest award that they can earn," said Plunkett. "For the National Gold Award, ten girls are chosen each year, and I was one of the ten to be chosen for 2020.”
The National Gold Award is the organization’s highest distinction. Girl Scouts are nominated by their council and selected by Girl Scouts of the USA based on their Gold Award project. The projects must demonstrate extraordinary leadership and create change with lasting impact.
For her project, Plunkett installed an ADA-approved wheelchair ramp so that mobility challenged actors could access the stage. She then produced a two-week summer theatre camp for children with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Plunkett consulted with a pediatric physical therapist and special education professionals and recruited and trained teen acting assistants for the program.
“It was truly inspirational to see each camper grow," said Plunkett. "They weren’t sure if they even wanted to act. It was just truly amazing to watch all of them perform at the end of those two weeks.”
Since completing her Gold Award project, Plunkett has earned approximately $60,000 in scholarships. She also attributes her acceptance into the University of Texas - Permian Basin to it as well. But what Plunkett values most is the experience she gained and the knowledge that she made a lasting impact on the community.
“I feel like I’ve gained the confidence to speak out about issues I see in my community. Definitely within Girl Scouts they teach you to speak out and make sure your voice is heard. I’ve been able to use my platform to advocate for people with disabilities,” said Plunkett.
Plunkett is currently studying Exercise Science on a Physical Therapy Track at the University of Texas - Permian Basin. She hopes to go to physical therapy school to earn a doctorate degree and pursue a career as a physical therapist, working with people with disabilities and autoimmune disorders.
To the young Girl Scouts aspiring to someday earn their Gold Award, Plunkett shared some sage advice.
“Stick to it. Stick to Girl Scouts. You’ll learn so much," said Plunkett. "You’ll gain the confidence to speak out, make a difference in your community and just overall be part of a sisterhood that’s going to support you in all of that.”
For more information, visit the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council website.