Submitted by Erin Marica.
(Sept. 5, 2019) — This past Winter, Anna Simoniello and Erin Marica, members of Haddam-Killingworth Girl Scout Troop 62749, conducted a backpack drive for children being removed from their homes by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Erin and Anna created this venture as part of their Girl Scout Silver Award project. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn and is a community service project: requiring 50 hours of service addressing a need in the community. Both girls have been in the Girl Scout program since Kindergarten.
Anna and Erin contacted a local DCF worker, Mrs. Doreen Parmentier. After speaking with Ms. Parmentier, they learned that every year hundreds of children are removed from their homes by DCF due to suspected abuse or neglect. Erin and Anna conducted research on the topic of children being displaced from their homes. They learned that children from the ages of 6 months to 18 years old are sometimes removed from their homes without notice and the children do not have bags to put their belongings in.
In order to fulfill this need, the girls realized that they could make a difference through a backpack drive. For three months Anna and Erin collected backpacks for these children. They worked with area schools, churches, dentists, and business donors from their communities.
At the end of the drive they had collected 117 backpacks and were able to fill each bag with shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and assorted hygiene supplies. The filled backpacks were delivered to the Middletown DCF office on April 18, 2019. The bags were then dispersed among other DCF offices to be used by workers throughout the state when removing children from their homes.
Erin and Anna hope that this project will “help make a difficult situation for children a little easier.”