Girl Scouts Ensure a Happy Birthday for Local Foster Children

Birthday parties can be easily taken for granted. Most of us can count on family and friends to come together with gifts, balloons, decorations, and of course, a birthday cake complete with candles! But for children in the foster care system, a traditional birthday party isn’t always a given.

Thanks to the generosity of Girl Scouts in the Manatee 4 Service Unit, a number of local children will have everything they need to celebrate their next birthday. The girls collected and donated supplies to create “birthday kits” to be distributed to children in Manatee, DeSoto, and Sarasota Counties via the Safe Children Coalition.


The birthday kits include such items as cake mix, frosting, and candles; baking pans; party hats, decorations, and favors; plates, cups, and plastic utensils; goody bags; party invitations; gift wrap; and gifts.

Girl Scout troop leader Karey Papin, who works as a Registered Nurse Case Manager for the Safe Children Coalition, said that there are currently about 1,450 children in foster care or living with a relative caregiver or in facility care. “We unfortunately had a severe spike in [the number of] children this year,” she explained.


With so many children and families in need, the birthday kits couldn’t have come at a better time. When the project was completed, approximately 45 kits were ready to go. That’s a lot of celebrating!

“Every single person can impact the joy of children going through this experience,” Papin added. “We need and welcome more outreach projects on every level to support these families and children.” If your troop would like to learn more about the many ways they can help, contact the Safe Children Coalition at 866-661-5656.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sydney of Venice Goes Gold

Gold Award Project: Books and Bears for Literacy 

See the Video Interview here:

Sydney Ring (1)Sydney is a Junior at Suncoast Polytechnical High School. She has been in Girl Scouts since she was five years old. Her project focuses on encouraging preschool aged children to love books at an early age in order to improve literacy. Her original goal was to collect 500 books for children but then she included 500 bears so each child could have a “reading buddy.” In the end she collected 1,000 new bears and 1,400 new books to distribute to area preschool children.

Sydney said, “Literacy is a world need, but the awareness begins in each of our own communities.  Getting businesses, family members, and each of us personally committed to making literacy a goal for young children will allow us to ensure that we all do our part to promote the love for reading and future success of each child.”

IMG_4949 (2)“Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Sydney’s “Take Action” project will make a measurable and sustainable difference in our community.  Her positive attitude, teamwork, and commitment to service defines Sydney as an inspiring leader and role model,” states Sue Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.Congratulations Sydney!

Learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.