A Positive Change Reaction
How a small Girl Scout troop made a large impact
At the end of the school day, the young students at Angelina Preschool pack up a cart full of potted cucumbers and other plants and return the greenery to their classroom. Once an unwieldy daily task, moving the plants in and outside every day is now easy thanks to Girl Scout Troop 12135. Based at the Nishi Hongwanji Temple in Little Tokyo, the troop hand-made this inspired and practical garden cart for the low-income students supported by LTSC. After seeing the positive impact of the Girl Scouts’ cart, Barker Management, who oversees the apartment complex that houses the school, provided even more options for the preschoolers to continue their gardening efforts. The Girl Scouts came up with the idea for the Angelina Preschool garden cart as part of their Bronze Award project, which challenges the scouts to make a positive change in their local community. After hearing about the preschoolers’ interest in gardening but lack of permanent outdoor space—the preschool shares its courtyard with the rest of the complex—the Girl Scouts visited the school to brainstorm solutions. They decided that a portable cart would make it easier for the young students to move the plants inside at the end of every school day.
“The children and teachers are very thankful that this troop opened the door to an opportunity we may have never received without them.”
-NICOLE LOPEZ, CHILD DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
In order to make their plan a reality, the Girl Scouts first held a bake sale to raise money. All the profits from cookie and cupcake sales went to help buy the raw materials for the cart. The scouts then used a parent’s woodworking garage to carefully hand-make the cart. Once finished, they filled the cart with gardening supplies and books for the children at Angelina Preschool.
When the Girl Scouts delivered the cart to Angelina Preschool, the children at the school were overjoyed. The teachers were grateful the troop provided a way to teach the children even more about gardening. Barker Management saw how much the garden cart affected the children and decided to contribute more. Property manager Gloria had unused planters in the courtyard filled with fresh dirt and installed a sprinkler system, allowing the children to grow more plants. Tenants are pleased to see more greenery and happy the children are learning new skills. “The children and teachers are very thankful that this troop opened the door to an opportunity we may have never received without them,” said Nicole Lopez, Child Development Department Director at LTSC.
The scouting tradition has a long history in the Japanese American community. During the unjust incarceration of people with Japanese ancestry during World War II, adults tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for children. While waiting for schools to be constructed in the camps, they organized Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. By December 1943, there were 743 Girl Scouts registered at just two of the camps. Those held at the camps went on to recall how belonging to a scout troop helped them get through the difficulties of incarceration. Today, we continue to see how scouting has a positive impact on the community. Positive change for people and places is part of the mission of LTSC. We bring about this change by sharing the resources our neighborhood has to offer in the hopes of helping children rise to their full potential and building a stronger community.