This Is Rutherford
RHS Freshmen Earn Girl Scout Silver Award
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Mia Olivo
Two young freshmen girls at Rutherford High School who have been in Girl Scouts for a decade (since they were in Kindergarten), recently completed a project to obtain their Girl Scout Silver Award. This is Rutherford spoke with Mia Olivo and Mia Luciano about the book drive they organized to earn their Silver Award just a few months ago.
TIR: Why did you choose to do a diversity book drive to obtain your Silver badge?
Mia Olivo and Mia Luciano: For our Girl Scout Silver Award, we needed to identify an issue that we care about and develop a project that would have an ongoing impact on our community. The Black Lives Matter movement in the spring of 2020 inspired us to think about how we could make a difference. We started to think about diversity in literature. In further research, we found that in 2018, 77% of children’s books had main characters who were either white or animals. Because Rutherford is a diverse community with people from all different backgrounds, we felt that our classroom and school libraries needed to reflect that. We decided to do a diversity book drive to build libraries of diverse books. Books about all types of people will allow kids to feel good about themselves when they see themselves represented in literature and also to expose children to differences, and experiences beyond their immediate lives.
TIR: How did you collect all of the books?
MO and ML: We created an Amazon Wish List and used social media to promote our project. We were so grateful when our community responded so well and we got so many generous donations from people around town.
TIR: Did the book drive include any other items other than books?
MO and ML: The drive also included multicultural art supplies like markers and crayons.
TIR: Where were the books donated?
MO and ML: Our donation was approved by Mr. Hurley and the Board of Education and donated to the Kindergarten Center, Washington School, Lincoln School, and Pierrepont School libraries.
TIR: How do you hope your book donations are used throughout the schools in Rutherford?
MO and ML: We hope that teachers will read aloud these great stories to their classes and that students will also choose to look at these books during independent reading times. We hope that our goals are accomplished and we can create a safe space for everyone of any race, ethnicity, or disability, and more in Rutherford.
TIR: Do you have any upcoming projects for Girl Scouts?
MO and ML: We will both be going for our Girl Scout Gold Award which is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts so we will definitely be starting that soon!