HERMITAGE – Jenna Reda has received the Girl Scout Gold Leadership Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.
She is the daughter of James and Angela Reda of Hermitage.
A Girl Scout for eight years, Jenna’s inspiration for her Gold Award project came from her experience as a Hermitage Rotary Club exchange student in Italy, where she witnessed the Syrian refugee crisis. Upon returning to the U.S. she was determined to raise awareness not only to the crisis but also to the struggles faced by those living in developing countries.
Her two-part project consisted of a writing program where local students corresponded with Ethiopian students who are learning English. The content of the letters from Ethiopia opened the eyes of a lot of students to what the daily life was like for teens in other countries.
The other part of her project consisted of a summer reading program in which students read several books, and Jenna held discussions regarding the global impact of the refugee crises, child soldiers, and the lack of educational opportunities for girls.
As part of her program, students participated in a refugee computer simulation where they were confronted with the same decisions that many refugees face.
Last fall after the summer project, Jenna submitted several writings to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her piece, “Voices of the Sierra Leone Civil War,” was awarded the Gold Key and her article, “The United States Continues to Take from the Native Americans,” received honorable mention in journalism.
Jenna previously earned Girl Scouting’s bronze and silver awards.
For her Silver Award, Jenna completed a project to reorganize storage space at a local AWARE house.
She earned the Silver Torch for her fire prevention program hosted at Faith Presbyterian Church, the Denice O’Kresik Trefoil Award for completing 100 volunteer hours in Girl Scouting and in the community, and the Silver Cord for completing in excess of 150 volunteer hours. She volunteered for Shenango Valley Senior Center, Community Library of the Shenango Valley’s Summer Reading Program, Girl Scout Day Camp, and Hermitage Goodfellows, among others.
Jenna will attend Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., in the fall, pursuing a degree in English and global issues. Her long-term goal is to work for the United Nations, aiding and advocating for refugees and other disadvantaged groups.