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Girl Scouts' "Giving Garden" Project Featured on YouthView

Girl Scouts Nora Gawlik (left) and Mary Kate Dempsey harvest vegetables from their "Giving Garden" to donate to the local food pantry in Mount Prospect.

Girl Scouts Nora Gawlik (left) and Mary Kate Dempsey harvest vegetables from their "Giving Garden" to donate to the local food pantry in Mount Prospect.

Mount Prospect — The latest "YouthView from Mount Prospect" TV program features two enterprising Mount Prospect Girl Scouts who created a "Giving Garden" last summer to provide fresh vegetables to the local CEDA food pantry. Nora Gawlik, a senior at John Hersey High School, and Mary Kate Dempsey, a senior at Prospect High School, set a goal of donating at least 100 lbs of vegetables but they exceeded their goal six-fold and by the end of the summer they had delivered 615 lbs of fresh vegetables to the food pantry.

Gawlik and Dempsey organized and implemented the project for the Girl Scouts Gold Award, which is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts. To prepare for the project, they tried out growing different kinds of vegetables in their own backyards the previous summer and sought further advice from staff at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Securing a plot of land became a challenge when they found that the garden lots available in surrounding communities were assigned to residents of those communities as a first priority. Fortunately, they found the River Trails Park District willing to help out with a plot of land, and so last May, they bought seeds, plants, tools, and tomato cages, prepared the soil and planted their garden.

Over the next two months they watered and weeded, and then started their summer-long harvesting of Mother Nature's bounty from their "Giving Garden," making regular trips to the food pantry to deliver their fresh vegetables – peppers, tomatoes, radishes, zucchini, and other types of summer squash. Although they had planted marigolds around their garden to discourage rabbits, they still lost some produce to some of the more persistent rabbits. Even so, by the end of the summer they had delivered 615 lbs of fresh vegetables to CEDA.

Gawlik and Dempsey have been friends since kindergarten, when they both first joined the Girl Scouts. Their efforts in the "Giving Garden" project were recognized at Mount Prospect 's annual Celestial Celebration in February, which hails the "Shining Stars" of the community with a variety of awards. The two Girl Scouts were presented with "Rising Star" awards.

The half-hour program is hosted by Michael Boivin, a junior at Hersey High School and, like Gawlik, a member of the Mount Prospect Youth Commission. The program airs during March on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 PM on Comcast's public access channel. After March 28th, the program will be available online through the Youth Commission web site at http://www.mountprospect.org/index.aspx?page=706

Earlier YouthView programs also are available on the same web site, including "Opportunities for Community Service at Prospect High School," "Service Over Self at Hersey High School," "Thursday Morning Jazz," and two programs on books that are popular with teens, such as "The Hunger Games."

"YouthView from Mount Prospect" is a monthly program which is taped in Comcast's Mount Prospect cable access studio on Wolf Road. The program is produced by Mount Prospect resident George Clowes and crewed by local cable access volunteers, with talent and topics provided by Mount Prospect youth, including members of the Mount Prospect Youth Commission. The program, whose aim is to give youth a voice in the community, has been in production since October 1995.

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