Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois congratulates Hailey Odorizzi from Mount Olive for becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout, a designation she earned by promoting dog rescue as a better alternative than purchasing pets from puppy mills.
“I volunteer with a rescue, and seeing the condition of animals who need rescued is so sad,” she said. “I have two family members that we rescued. So many animals never find their forever home and will get euthanized. I really wanted people to know how much they can change a life by not buying from puppy mills.”
The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—earned by a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, Gold Award Girl Scouts provide innovative solutions to significant challenges.
While the Girl Scout Gold Award is an individual honor, Hailey paired up with her sister Ashley to host a large community event promoting the adoption of rescue animals, which they named “For the Love of Paws.” Hailey took the lead in partnering with area agencies and vendors to host booths as the event. She was even able to arrange for several rescues to bring dogs that were ready for adoption. Once the vendors were in place, she created promotional material for the event – including a brochure, emails and social media advertisements. In addition, she developed a website that lists area rescue agencies that she plans to update into the future.
More than 350 community members attended “For the Paws of Love,” with each participant receiving a swag bag with donated pet items and educational brochures about rescue adoption. Hailey also researched and created informational displays about rescue adoption, which she donated to the rescue agencies after the event. Last, she gave presentations on the importance of adopting rescued animals and reducing the demand for puppy mills. Her sister Ashley, who is also a Gold Award Girl Scout gave additional demonstrations about training dogs with visual or hearing impairments to help spread awareness that these dogs should not be euthanized. Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens were adopted at the event as well, and went home with new families.
“Too many puppies and dogs die because of neglect they receive in puppy mills or simply because they have not found their forever home to call their own,” said Hailey. “I was able to pass along the knowledge of adopting and how it changes a life compared to adopting from a puppy mill.”
Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable. Along with raising awareness about rescue adoptions, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award helped Hailey develop her own abilities as well.
“I have learned that I can lead, use my voice, and accomplish things I never thought about doing,” she said. “I am much more comfortable talking to strangers and my Girl Scout Gold Award project taught me to stand up for what I believe in.”
Hailey is the daughter of Matt and Lisa Odorizzi and a member of the class of 2021 at Mount Olive High School.