PRLog - Nov. 4, 2010 - For high school junior Dana Simendinger, making a difference in the lives of others is second nature. As a second-grader, the 17-year-old embraced the mission of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. to make the world a better place. The Allendale, N.J., resident is now striving to achieve the organization's highest honor - the Girl Scout Gold Award - by planning, implementing and leading a program for residents at The Atrium, a senior living community at The Allendale Community for Mature Living.
Dana Simendinger (right) and Stella Dukes (left)
Dana, who decided to focus on The Allendale Community because her grandparents live there, is teaching a seasonal arts and crafts class designed to promote memory recognition and enhance fine motor skills. The sessions also encourage each of the senior residents to share their personal life experiences.
"I wanted to create a program to help seniors remember milestones that may have been buried, but not forgotten, from their past," said Dana, who writes for the Northern Highlands High School newspaper and is a member of the Spanish Club.
To achieve a Girl Scout Gold Award, substantial requirements must be met prior to project approval. Girls must choose and research an issue, then create a plan that achieves measurable and sustainable impact. Dana's goal of sustainability would be that other teens would follow in her footsteps by continuing arts and crafts classes at The Atrium while she moves onto college. Once the plan has been developed, it must be presented to the local Girl Scout Council for review and feedback. Dana is now carrying out the plan by educating and inspiring the senior residents at The Atrium.
The Girl Scout Golden Eagle of Merit honor, awarded from 1916 to 1919, marked the beginning of a long tradition of recognition awards for girls who made a difference in their communities. Since then, the Curved Bar Award (1940 to 1963) and First Class Award (1963 to 1980) were the highest awards, followed by the present-day Girl Scout Gold Award.
"We are so pleased to provide Dana and many, many teenage girls before her with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and initiative while making life better for today's older adults," said Mary Stampleman, ADC, Director of Therapeutic Recreation and Community Relations at The Atrium. "She brings a new light and fresh, youthful perspective our residents embrace whenever she is here with them."
Founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, today there are more than 10 million Girl Scouts members in 145 countries worldwide. Dana is a member of Girl Scout Troop 153.
Volunteers of all ages - from youngsters to retired professionals - are offered a wide range of flexible opportunities to share their talents and interests with The Atrium's senior residents. The Allendale Community for Mature Living was among the first to incorporate three levels of care, ranging from senior and assisted living to long-term/rehabilitative care, in one convenient campus-like location. Situated on 12 suburban acres in Bergen County, N.J. the community has been renovated in stages to meet the evolving healthcare needs of older adults. The Allendale Community, which includes The Atrium; Carlton Court; and The Allendale Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, is located at 85 Harreton Road, with a private driveway off Route 17 South in Allendale.
For information about volunteering at The Allendale Community, contact Mary Stampleman at (201) 818-7979 or visit http://www.allendalecommunity.com/
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About The Allendale Community for Mature Living: The Allendale Community for Mature Living is located on 12 acres in a scenic, quiet suburban neighborhood, with direct access to Route 17 South. The physician-owned Community offers three levels of residency and a continuum of care on campus: The Atrium, where independent seniors enjoy residential living; Carlton Court, which offers assisted living; and The Allendale Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility focusing on rehabilitation. In addition, the Community offers the Senior Social Club, an adult day program that provides a variety of dynamic activities. For more information about The Allendale Community for Mature Living, call (201) 825-0660 or visit its web site at www.allendalecommunity.com.