Last summer, two Girl Scouts from Troop 21 decided to build hope for the families living in our emergency shelter. After learning about our mission, Despina Wilsonand Shelby Ware were committed to creating a comfortable space for families to rest, reflect, and renew. The resulting project–our new Contemplation Pavilion–proves young people can realize big goals with strong vision, community support, and a lot of hard work.

Despina and Shelby each contributed their own skills and special touch to the pavilion project. While Despina worked to secure materials, funds and volunteers for the structure itself, Shelby created an informational brochure and organized a brick paver sale and installation to recognize volunteers and donors . Dozens of friends, family, and local businesses pitched in to help the girls prepare the site, pour concrete, build the structure, and install the roofing.

The pavilion already has become a special place on our property. In addition to providing refuge from the sun and wind when we’re working on the farm, it provides a wonderful gathering space for family picnics and community celebrations. Our staff and residents look forward to planning support group meetings in the beautiful outdoor space when the warmer weather finally arrives.

This big accomplishment by Shelby and Despina reminds us to “never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people” — especially Girl Scouts with a mission to help! Both girls earned the Gold Award, the highest Girl Scout honor, in recognition of their philanthropic project.