Birmingham Girl Scout Honored for Suicide Prevention Work

Birmingham Girl Scout Honored for Suicide Prevention Workspiritual life ferndale

(GSSEM Press Release, May 29, 2014)

Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM) is pleased to announce 16-year-old Jacqueline Caserio of Birmingham, MI as the 2014 Young Woman of Distinction for Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan.  Her award was announced at the GSSEM’s annual Honor Reception on May 4 where she was also one of 13 girls to receive Girl Scout’s highest honor—The Gold Award.

The GSSEM Young Woman of Distinction Award is a special honor bestowed upon a Girl Scout Gold Award ctechadrecipient whose final project demonstrates extraordinary leadership and addresses a global issue with measurable and sustainable impact. Caserio’s Gold Award project was entitled, “Hope and Help,” and was an awareness campaign about teen depression and suicide depression. Caserio is finishing her junior year at Marion High School in Bloomfield Hills and a member of Troop 40298.

Caserio wanted to break through the social stigma of mental illness by creating an awareness campaign of hope and help.  She set up a mental health information display fair during lunch hours at Marian High School where students could gather pamphlets and brochures on teen mental health and suicide prevention.  She displayed a large banner in memoriam of a student from a neighboring school who took his life in the summer of 2012.  Students were asked to sign the banner as a pledge to be a “safe voice” sidebar016growfor a friend in need, and given a wallet card listing the warning signs of suicide, and a prevention hotline number.

“It was encouraging to see so many students signing up to pledge to support and help one another,” said Caserio. “I think it shows that young people care about each other and we want to be equipped to make a difference wherever we can.”

Because of her efforts, Marian High School will now participate annually in September lori davis adas National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month.  Caserio is also passing the torch to another student to continue her mental health awareness efforts when she graduates. She says that completing her Gold Award project helped develop strong leadership skills by being an advocate and taking action. “If even one person was touched by my mental health display, my project was a success,” she concluded.

As this year’s GSSEM Young Woman of Distinction, Caserio will serve as ambassador to the council for one year and is charged with building girl relationships, advocacy and public speaking, including at Camp Moxie—a four-day leadership program for girls. She will also be charged with displaying her work at the Clinton Township Service Center. Caserio receives a special scholarship contributed by the Nancy L. Philippart and Thomas F. McGrail Fund.New Harvest Homes NHH

Caserio will begin applying to colleges this summer. Her list of possibilities includes University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Georgetown University. She is considering majoring in History or Political Science, with an English minor. She aspires to have a career in law or public service.

Caserio is now an applicant for the National Young Woman of Distinction award. National Young Woman of Distinction is the designation, and special honor, conferred by Girl Scouts of the Candlewickshop_May2014USA (GSUSA) on ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose final projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge that related to a national and/or global issue. Each NYWOD will receive a $5,000 academic scholarship made possible by the Kappa Delta Foundation. The NYWOD will also be nationally recognized at the 2014 National Council Session/53rd National Convention. In addition, NYWOD may be invited to serve as representatives for the national organization at speaking engagements, and/or other Girl Scout-related events.

Since 1916, Girl Scouts’ highest award has stood for excellence and leadership for girls everywhere. Seniors and Ambassadors who choose to pursue the Gold Award dedicate themselves to developing and implementing a year-long projectseed014_melinda_hicks_family which displays the leadership skills they have developed through Girl Scouting. The Gold Award project is the culmination of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in which girls discover, connect, and take action to positively impact their communities, as well as their own lives.

GSSEM is the local council chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to facilitate the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), designed to help girls develop leadership skills through three key elements—Discover, Connect and Take Action. Each element has a set of five outcomes including girls develop a strong sense of self (Discover); girls gallowaycollens1develop healthy relationships (Connect); and girls can identify community needs (Take Action). GSSEM serves nearly 40,000 girls and adult volunteers in Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, and parts of Wayne, Monroe and Livingston Counties. GSSEM provides a girl-led, girl-centered, fun-filled quality leadership experience.

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