This International Day of the Girl, Girl Scouts of Central Texas (GSCTX) celebrates change maker Gretchen Ewing from Girl Scout Troop 42101 for earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette (grades 6-8) can achieve for taking action and making a difference in their community. After learning about the lack of food allergy education resources available in some schools, Ewers created a program to help students and families prevent food allergy accidents. With the help of community partners DJ Bling Foundation and MadeGood, she created and distributed 2,000 educational flyers accompanied by attention-grabbing allergy-friendly granola bars throughout seven Austin schools and Bastrop’s annual ‘Back-to-School Bash’.
According to Stanford Medicine, one in 13 students in the U. S. has a food allergy and every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. Ewing’s English and Spanish flyers help describe common food allergies, what an allergic reaction looks like, and how to care for someone experiencing a reaction. MadeGood, an allergy-friendly snack company, donated 2,000 allergen-free granola bars for each flyer, ensuring students and caregivers would read the flyer. Her project is now adopted by DJ Bling Foundation, a local organization that provides educational resources and advocacy for students of disadvantaged communities, as their Nutrition and Food Allergy Program, and will include the flyer in their back to school backpacks each year.
“This topic is important to me because I have a severe peanut allergy,” said Ewing “My goal was to help people who didn’t know about food allergies be more aware that it is a problem for some people and learn how they can help prevent accidents involving allergies. I am excited that I was able to help so many people learn something new that can help people with food allergies like me be safer.”
Paula Bookidis, Girl Scouts of Central Texas CEO, said, “Girl Scout programming invites girls to explore their role as change makers. By encouraging girls to identify issues that they care about then create solutions to those issues, Girl Scouts experience from an early age that their actions create impact. Empowered girls change communities and change the world."