By Ashley Mackin
2014 La Jolla High School graduates Sydney Moses and Lolo Frager, and senior Lilly Grossman, were among the 44 young women who received Girl Scout Gold Awards — the highest honor bestowed by the organization — during a June 8 ceremony at Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley.
To earn the award (granted to just 5 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide) Scouts must establish and oversee a volunteer team and work with adults to implement a problem-solving project, sustainable after the Scout has moved on. The project must also have the goal of changing people’s attitudes and assumptions.
In Lilly’s case, the problem was the lack of a safety plan for disabled students on the school campus. Lilly’s mother Gay explained that under the former emergency evacuation plan, students in wheelchairs, like Lilly, would evacuate to Nautilus Street, while everyone else would meet at the football field.
“How would they know that Lilly, or any other disabled student, actually got out in an emergency?” Grossman asked, noting that ambulances go to the football field when needed.
Further, there are no ramps leading to the second floor of buildings, and the only way to access them is via an elevator and a cat- walk that connects adjoining buildings. This poses the concern of what would happen to a student with disabilities who was on the second floor during an emergency?
“Lilly decided to turn this negative into a positive and make an evacuation plan for her Gold Award,” Grossman said. “She worked with the school district’s ADA Department and they brought ‘med sleds’ into the school,” she said.
Med sleds roll up tightly for storage at the top of staircases, but unfurl so someone unable to walk can be carried down the stairs by others.
“Anyone might need a med sled, whether they are in a wheelchair or have a heart attack and are unconscious, or if something falls on their head,” she said.
Lilly hosted a training session for 20 students to learn how to use the sleds and safely move people in them. To make the project sustainable, those students are required to train students in classes below them, who will, in turn, train subsequent students. Additionally, during each emergency drill, a “victim” is carried on a med sled so students become used to their presence.
Lolo Frager’s project was inspired by the Link Crew program at La Jolla High where upperclassmen help freshmen in their orientation and introduction to the school. Frager’s project trained middle school students to help incoming sixth-graders transition from elementary school. The project is in place at Muirlands, Challenger and De Portola Middle Schools through their counseling departments.
“The eighth-graders offer tips and tell the younger kids things they wish they’d heard coming into sixth grade, so they’ll be more comfortable with passing periods, lockers and having six classes,” Lolo said, “I wanted to ease incoming sixth-graders anxiety and help them realize the older kids aren’t as intimidating as they might think. But I also wanted to show the eighth-graders they don’t need to be a certain age to be a leader or a mentor. No matter how old they are, they could be role models.”
To make the project sustainable, Lolo Frager created a binder with all the information she collected, so anyone could access it.
Sydney Moses was on vacation and unavailable to speak with La Jolla Light, but her project was the implementation of a summer math workshop and weekly tutoring sessions for fourth and fifth graders, so they could keep skills sharp between school years.