Going for the gold award

Sophomore Naomi Desai discusses her journey to receiving her Girl Scout Gold Award


Rucha Soman and Chelsea Wong

When sophomore Naomi Desai ripped open the envelope from the stack of mail,  she found letters from the San Jose Sharks, Ro Khanna, the United States Senate and former presidents like George Bush and Barack Obama. All the letters had the same purpose;  to congratulate Desai on the achievement of her Gold Award.

The Gold Award is a Girl Scout service project that requires 80 hours of volunteering work. In order to receive this award, the Girl Scout must complete the Silver Award, which is a 50 hour service project. In order for a scout to start her project, she must pitch a project that will make a positive impact on her society to the Girl Scout counsel.

Desai volunteered at a charity called Hope’s Corner for her Gold Award project. The charity gives free clothes, showers and meals to the homeless.

“For my project [the charity has] this huge closet where they have all theira clothes and it’s really disorganized because they’re constantly getting a lot of donations every single day,” Desai said. “I organized the entire thing and created an online inventory so the volunteers would be able to maintain [the items].”

According to Desai, the volunteers at Hope’s Corner couldn’t keep up with the large amount of donations, making  it hard for them to stay organized. Desai was frustrated by this because she felt that every week she had to reorganize the donations repeatedly, which ultimately which hindered her progress.

Desai started her project in December 2016 and worked with her Girl Scout troop advisor to think of ideas. She then sent her idea to the Girl Scout counsel for approval and wanted to  finish her project by August 2017. However, she wasn’t able to meet her goal because of a setback from the counsel.

“The counsel didn’t get back to me about my proposal till August,” Desai said. “So I had to work on it throughout sophomore year.”

For Desai, receiving her Gold Award allowed her to reflect on her time with Girl Scouts, an organization she has been a part of since kindergarten. From this particular experience, she feels she has found her place and purpose in the local community.

“It does mean something to me. We live in an area where not many people are aware of the situation of homeless people, everyone takes their social status for granted,” Desai said. “They don’t realize that there are many homeless people in [the Cupertino and Los Altos areas] and even I didn’t realize how many people there really were until I went every Saturday.”

After revisiting the charity, Desai sees the difference her work has made, specifically the organization and efficiency of the charity.

“I think [the charity] realized ‘We can’t really keep it disorganized like this, we’re not going to be able to function properly,’” Desai said.

For Desai, Girl Scouts isn’t about being recognized for her work but rather the impact her work makes.

“To me, Girl Scouts is a place where girls can come together to achieve something bigger than themselves,” Desai said. “It’s working together to benefit a greater population.”