This Girl Scout Gold Award Project Is Still Protecting Students

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Lauren Klym, 20, was a young student when the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy occurred less than an hour away from her hometown of Stamford, Connecticut. The Girl Scout alum vividly remembers how panicked and frightened parents were as they picked up their children that day. Six years later, Klym was a high school junior when the Parkland school shooting left 17 people dead. Affected by these events, Klym knew she could make a difference by creating a school-wide safety plan for her own school, which became the focus of her Girl Scout Gold Award. 

What struck Klym the most during these events were the stories some Parkland students had of how unprepared their teachers were in this time of crisis. While no adult wakes up thinking their students will be in danger that day, Klym wanted to make sure a plan was in place for young people and adults to ensure safety in schools at all costs. 

For her Gold Award project, Klym spent her summer vacation researching effective safety protocols based on what other schools had created. She knew how difficult it could be to keep a cool head in times of trouble, so she personally designed easy-to-read, visually based classroom layout guides and safety checklists for quick planning in an emergency. She distributed these to every classroom; the plans are still there to this day.

“When working on a large-scale project, talk to the people on the ground level,” she tells CircleAround. Klym collaborated with her local police department to ensure they were familiar with her lockdown plans, and to input additional safety advice into her project. She worked with her school faculty and administration to implement instructions for teachers and students so that everyone is aware and felt prepared should tragedy strike.

"Even the smallest acts of kindness can go a long way." 

“I learned that you don’t have to be an adult to get things rolling,” Klym said in an interview for CBS 2 New York. Her family, former high school, and community members are incredibly proud of her work. Her Gold Award project was just one of the honors she received; she was also named as a 2019 City of Stamford Citizen of the Year and received several scholarships for her efforts.

It was one of many ways Klym has dedicated her life to putting others before herself. Now a student at Syracuse University, she focuses on making the lives of others around her better every day, whether it’s sorting deposit-refund recyclables into separate bags to make it easier for those who depend on this change to get them by, or driving injured or sick students to and from their doctor appointments.

“Small acts like this make a difference in these people's lives because they are so used to being ignored,” she tells CircleAround. “Now my community members know that every Monday, they can stop by at least one house and not have to dig around for cans.”

“Even the smallest acts of kindness can go a long way,” she adds. “If you pass the same person on the sidewalk every day, consider bringing them a sandwich or some hand warmers next time. Show humanity, rather than ignoring them.”

A natural multitasker and planner, the leadership skills Klym acquired over the years are paying off. She is currently majoring in Management and Supply Chain Logistics, and intends on interning at Amazon again this summer. 

But she’ll always feel proud knowing the efforts of her Girl Scout Gold Award project are helping others stay safe and can potentially save lives in the future. 

“Young girls are told to ‘tone it down,’” she states. “But this is what makes you stand out. … Never be afraid to ask people to share their experiences with you; you can learn so much from people in the workforce today. People are always more than happy to help young, determined individuals.”

Tags: Education, Girl Scout, Gold Award Girl Scout, Volunteering

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA, and we make financial distributions to benefit the next generation of Girl Scouts. We strive to make the world a better place by supporting each other today and emboldening the women leaders of tomorrow.

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