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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

RHS Senior, Lauren Pfleger, Spreads Awareness About Misinformation in Food/ Nutrition

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

By Jennifer Ersalesi

For ten years, upcoming Rutherford High School Senior, Lauren Pfleger has been a part of the Girl Scouts. Recently, she has been working on completing her Gold Award for her project focusing on food and nutrition misconceptions. This is Rutherford interviewed Lauren about the completion of her Gold Award Project.

TIR: Can you tell us what a Gold Project is?

Lauren Pfleger: A Gold Award is the highest award a girl scout can achieve. To complete one a girl scout must first complete the Bronze and Silver Award, which are group service projects. For my Silver Award, another girl and I hosted a “Drive Through Food Drive” during 2020 and donated our collections to the Rutherford Food Pantry. For the Gold Award, however, the project is individual and must address and solve a specific issue within the community, state, country, world, etc.

TIR: What was your Gold Project?

LP: For my Gold Award, I wanted to address the issue of misconceptions of food and nutrition through the media. I created a series of three videos which each addressed a different myth that was popularized through social media. The first video asked whether or not breakfast was truly the most healthy meal of the day, the second asked if store bought smoothies/juices are really the healthiest, and the third asked if diet-labeled foods are really healthier. I called this series “Food Busters”. The videos can be viewed using this link. After viewing the videos, it would be helpful if you could complete the survey using this form.

TIR: Why did you choose this particular project?

LP: I chose this project because as a teenage girl living in a day in age where the Internet and social media seem to be running the world, I have witnessed first-hand what false information being spread can do to people. It can cause so many misconceptions which can lead to lifelong insecurities, harmful self-images, and more. I think it’s important to be fully educated and have all the facts, especially about food and nutrition. Also, much of what we hear on social media about food and nutrition is often negative, advising the audience what they should stop doing, what’s really bad for them, etc. I wanted to provide a new perspective on food and nutrition and offer some helpful, positive tips that could hopefully simply inform the audience without confusing or harming their mental health.

TIR: Now that you have spent a lot of time working on this project, what are you most proud of?

LP: I am most proud of how much knowledge I gained. I conducted research for all of my videos and naturally learned so much about each topic. However, I also learned a lot about myself and how independent and creative I could be. I explored various online tools such as Canva which was where I edited all my videos and a website called Animaker where I created animated sections to my videos. The whole premise of my project was to inform others and to teach others about my topics, and I am proud that I believe I achieved that not only for the audience but for me as well.

TIR: Why would you encourage others to join the Scouts?

LP: I would encourage others to join the Scouts because it truly is a great and humbling experience, from the early years to now. The Scouts teach about teamwork, community, helping others, kindness, and so much more. These are such great qualities to teach from an early age and I truly believe I wouldn’t be who I am had I not been a part of Girl Scouts.

TIR: Did you have any mentors while working towards this achievement?

LP: I did. Her name is Donna Yannacone, Registered Dietician Nutritionist. My project would not be where it is without her. After I completed the drafts of each script, I’d send it to her and we would sit on FaceTime together working through the scripts and perfecting them. She would provide new facts, new perspectives, and simply just taught me so much. She was my Project Advisor, someone that is required for every girl completing their Gold Award, but she took the position to a new level. She is truly so kind to have helped me as much as she did and I am extremely grateful for her time and knowledge she gave to me.

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