Girl Scout Gold Award Project Benefits VNA Hospice Center Patients and Their Families

By: Visiting Nurse Association Last Updated: August 12, 2011

VNA-Girl-Scouts-Troop-290During the past year, four high school girls who belong to Girl Scout Troup #290 in Valparaiso have been working toward their highest achievement level, the Gold Award. They chose to make welcome bags for the patients and their families at the Arthur B. and Ethel V. Horton VNA Hospice Center in Valparaiso, and recently delivered some of the completed bags to the Center.

Mary Kate Misch, Morgan Sandelski, Liz Ufer and Corie Young wanted to have their Gold Award project finished before their senior year at Valparaiso High School, Washington Township High School and LaPorte High School.

Under the direction of Mary Sandelski, troop leader since her daughter was in kindergarten, the four talented young women chose to do a people project that would make a difference to people in need. They looked around Valparaiso and decided on the Hospice Center instead of more common choices such as homeless shelters, nursing homes and animal shelters.

The Scouts and their leader visited the Hospice Center to see how they might help. They found an area to address: welcome bags containing items such as a handmade pillow, toiletries, games, pen, snacks, and coupons for a local eatery. Each Scout’s goal was to make, decorate and fill seven canvas bags.

Since many hospice patient family members come from out of town, the Scouts also decided to make a list of local restaurants with a location map to put in each bag. They personally visited area restaurants to obtain menus that will be put into a binder, along with a map, for families to reference at the Hospice Center.

Why did these Girl Scouts choose a people project? “I used to babysit and wanted to find a way to way to do volunteer work,” said Liz. Morgan said she hopes that other groups will carry on the project.

Mary Kate hopes others—individuals and groups of all kinds—will become more aware of where volunteer help is needed. “I really love helping people,” said Corie, “and this is a great way to help people in need.”

VNA-BLUEThe VNA is a nonprofit home health care agency serving Porter County and contiguous portions of Lake, LaPorte, Stark and Jasper counties. Services provided include skilled nursing; physical, occupational and speech therapy; home health aides; social services, telehealth, home and inpatient hospice care and bereavement programs. The VNA also provides assistive care, including Meals on Wheels, Homemaker/Companion Care and Lifeline as well as grief support for children and their families at the VNA Phoenix Center.

For more information about the VNA and programs and services offered, call the VNA at (219) 462-5195 or visit the VNA’s website at

Photo: Front: Members of Girl Scout Troop #290 in Valparaiso - Morgan Sandelski; Mary Kate Misch; Corie Young; Liz Ufer Back: Troop Leader Mary Sandelski; Rudelle Crowley, VNA Hospice Volunteer Coordinator