Kaila Arielle Veal is a junior at Tuckahoe High School. Last month, she received a Girl Scout Gold Award for a service project at the Maria Fareri’s Children’s Hospital. She has also volunteered at the Humane Society in New Rochelle and the Treehouse Bereavement Center by baking and donating desserts for their bereavement group while in high school. We talk to her.
Q: So you recently received your Girl Scout Gold Award. Tell us about your project.
A: I did, my project focused on the children that are in the surgery center of the Maria Fareri’s Children’s Hospital. I spent a while talking with their gold scout coordinator about what would be best for me to do with the children. Finally I came up with the idea for “Sticker’s for Hope”. I decided to hold a sticker and activity book drive to bring to the children at the hospital. At the end of the project I had enough money to go out and buy toys for the children of the psychology ward as well. At the beginning of my project I knew that I wanted to work with children that were not well because I wanted to find some way to impact their lives in a positive way. I love children and it touches me to hear about the things that they survive. They are some of the bravest people.
Q: How many sticker books did your collect?
A: I collected over 250 sticker book donations from my local elementary, William E. Cottle, a school in the United Arab Emirates, the Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi and and Case dei Bambini a preschool in the Netherlands. Then, with the money that I collected with bake sales I bought around another 200 sticker books. So in total, I brought about 450 sticker books to the children at the hospital.
Q: We heard the project was international in scope. How so?
A: I reached out to my mother’s friend in The United Emirates and my family in the Netherlands and asked them to hold a sticker drive in their local schools as well. I asked to donate some of the books that they collected to the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, and the rest to their local hospitals with a pediatric ward.
Q: You also raised money with bake sales. How much did you raise, and what was that used for?
A” I raised approximately $180 with the bake sales. I used that money to buy sticker books and toys for the children and buy supplies for the Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout workshops that I held. I also collected money donations by holding workshops with the daisy and brownie troops of New Rochelle and through donations from my grandmother’s church members. This money was also used to buy sticker books and toys.
Q: You will be back at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital this March. What will you be doing there?
A: I have been accepted into the volunteer program for the Westchester Medical Center this spring, it has not been confirmed yet in which department I will be working in, but I hope to be working with the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital doing the family laundry and reading to the children.
Q: What advice do you have for other students looking to volunteer and contribute their communities?
A: I would tell other students looking to volunteer and contribute to their communities to not give up. Sometimes organizations will either not get back to you or reject your request. But, if you work hard and love what you do, you can have a chance to make a positive impact on the lives of others.