Editor’s note: Let’s lift January! Reporters Karen Bjornland and Kelly de la Rocha spent January seeking expert advice on ways to brighten lives through simple acts of kindness. Here’s the last of their five reports.
Earlier this month, when frigid temperatures gripped Saratoga Springs and homeless people were searching for a warm place to sleep, five Girl Scouts helped prepare the city’s Code Blue Shelter at the Salvation Army.
“They set up the beds. They made sure every one had a blanket. They put pillowcases on the pillows. They also baked and brought desserts,” says Saratoga Springs Girl Scout leader Whitney Jobmann.
Every month, the teen-agers in Senior Troop 3205, including Jobmann’s 14-year-old daughter Samantha, volunteer at a different place.
“We try to do something different every month because I really want the girls to find something that they enjoy doing,” Jobmann says. “Hopefully it’s something they will continue in the future, beyond Girl Scouts.”
At Christmas time, the girls warmed the hearts of elderly men and women with a holiday party at the Home of the Good Shepherd, and they plan to return there after flu season.
Share your stories
Have you been the recipient of a surprise act of kindness? Have you done a good deed recently? Let us know about it.
-- Twitter — use the hashtag #LetsLiftJanuary
-- Facebook — post on The Daily Gazette’s Facebook page
“They were dancing with them, they were encouraging them to get up and dance. They were just having fun. It was good for the girls to get out of their comfort zone,” their leader says.
The Saratoga High School students, four freshman and one sophomore, have collected food for the Franklin Community Center and worked at Old Friends at Cabin Creek, a farm for retired thoroughbreds in Greenfield.
“We mucked horse stalls and they loved it,” Jobmann says. “They are actually working on a service video to bring awareness about abused racehorses.”
Jobmann believes that volunteering is good not just for the community but the girls themselves. “These girls do these things not because they are going to get anything out of it, but because it feels good to give back.”
A mother of four who works at CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services in Clifton Park, Jobmann is leading younger girls down the volunteer path, too.
She is also a leader for Brownie Troop 3134, a group of 18 second-graders, including her 7-year-old daughter Kira, who attend Geyser Elementary School.
For the third year, since they were Daisy Scouts in kindergarten, the girls have earned a “Service is the Heart of Girl Scouts” patch.
“They made pet toys for the animal shelter. They brought blankets and food,” Jobmann says. “They made Christmas ornaments and decorated a Christmas tree that was donated to a local family in need.”
The girls also pick up trash in a local park and help with food drives.
Just this past Wednesday, they wrote letters to soldiers and made valentines for residents of Saratoga Hospital’s nursing home.
“And every year, we do random acts of kindness. It’s a big thing with the troop. We have a general discussion and then the girls come up with them on their own. The next time we meet, we’ll talk about what they’ve done.”
One girl gave cookies to the firefighters in her neighborhood, another left a dollar in the toy section of a dollar store so someone could pick out a toy. Another brought flowers to a sick neighbor.
“Service is a huge part of Girl Scouting because we are building and shaping these girls,” Jobmann says. “If they grow up and give back to their community, be a part of their community, all the better for them.”
Jobmann, who lives with husband William, the Girl Scout daughters and sons Billy, 10, and Jeremy, 4, was a Girl Scout growing up in Pennslyvania, and her mom was her scout leader.
Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197 or [email protected]