Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce that Sarah Gratton from Alton has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award— the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she collaborated with Katie Monday Hughes, a longtime volunteer at Partners 4 Pets, a no-kill animal shelter and rehab center.
“I care very much for animals, especially those animals in shelters,” she said. “There are shelters all over the nation in need of help, and if I can reach at least one, then I am helping the countless pets and volunteers one step at a time."
First, Gratton created and hung decorative displays made from recycled doors at the Partners 4 Pets shelter. The horizontally hung doors have the dual purpose of being able feature adoptable pets’ pictures in what were once window panes, while also storing coats or leashes on hooks that she installed. She regularly helped walk dogs and clean and care for animals, as well as organized a successful collection drive to collect supplies. Last, she hosted a volunteer work day to increase community interest in volunteering at the shelter, which she promoted through posters and social media. To make an even bigger impact, she organized a community group to volunteer at the shelter a few times a month. To provide continuity, she created “how to” pamphlets for the group with tips on everything from how to make homemade toys and treats to the steps to hold a workshop or donation drive.
“I think my project impacted the community because it showed that if a lot of people come together to do a lot of little things, it helps those in need immensely,” she said.
Gratton said that, along with helping Partners 4 Pets, completing her Girl Scout Gold Award project helped her thrive as well.
“My project really helped me grow in leadership and start taking initiative,” she said. “I learned that sometimes you just have to take risks in order to get something done. I considered myself more of a follower, but my passion to help the animals showed that taking risks for them is so worth it!”
Sarah is the daughter of Andrew and Theresa Gratton. She graduated from Marquette Catholic High School in 2018 and is currently attending Lewis and Clark Community College with plans to attain an Associates in Science before transferring to Palmer College of Chiropractic.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn,
recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops
skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life.
To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout
Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need
within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The
project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of
work. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious