La Mesa Girl Scouts find way to make plastic pay

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La Mesa Girl Scouts, Marissa Olson, 12, and Paige Telliard, 12, recently earned the Girl Scout Silver Award for their donation to the San Diego Rescue Mission.

La Mesa Girl Scouts, Marissa Olson, 12, and Paige Telliard, 12, recently earned the Girl Scout Silver Award for their donation to the San Diego Rescue Mission.

The Silver Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout cadet can receive while in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. It requires girl scouts to spend at least 50 hours on a project, done in a small group, that gives back to the community. After being in Girl Scout troop 6141 for nearly five years, Olson and Telliard had completed collective troop projects, but these two 7th graders at College Preparatory Middle School had never organized a project on their own.

Not only did Olson and Telliard donate to the homeless shelter, but their project gave back to the environment as well. Starting in January, the girls collected recyclable cans and bottles for six months, amounting to $325 worth.
“Originally the goal was $100, then $200. They kept increasing the goal as they kept getting more.” said Ann Olson, Marissa’s mother.
With this money they received for the recycling, the girls purchased items needed at the shelter, which they then donated to the San Diego Rescue Mission.

While planning the project, “We did some research and saw that there were over 10,000 homeless just in San Diego.” Telliard said. “We saw there were lots of cans and water bottles people would just throw out the window, on the ground. So, we thought this was a way of returning that money to the homeless.”

The girls not only collected recyclables themselves, but got the community involved by asking neighbors and friends to contribute their recyclables as well. They also picked up discarded cans and bottles from communal areas, ranging from Lake Marina to Mission Bay.
Olson and Telliard really went out of their way to gather these recyclable materials. “When we are driving and we see some, we stop and pick it up.” said Telliard.

The girls possess not just an environmental awareness, but a true dedication to the improvement of the environment. According to Ann Olson, taking care of the environment is a big part of Girl Scouts, which their project suitably reflects.

“We thought that people don’t recycle.” said Marissa Olson. “So, we thought if we recycle, it would help the world and then the money [from the recycling] will help the homeless.”

San Diego Rescue Mission has a program specifically for homeless women and children, which Ann Olson said is part of the reason the girls picked to donate there.
Marissa Olson said, “We researched a lot of different places and we thought that that shelter needed the most things. So, we decided to donate to them [San Diego Rescue Mission].”

The girls are waiting to receive their award in a few weeks, which will be presented at a ceremony. They both continue collecting recyclable material in their own homes. “Even though the project is over, I’m hoping to give it to another homeless shelter.” said Telliard. 

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