Grace Rose Spreads Awareness for Human Trafficking at Her Girl Scout Gold Award Event
Hailey Raimo '19
5 November 2018
Grace Rose '19 took the next step towards her Girl Scout Gold Award when she created and hosted a presentation on human trafficking at the Totowa Community Center on October 20th. To further recognize her work and community outreach, Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Cardillo honored Grace at a Board of Education Meeting on November 13th.
The Girl Scouts promote character, good citizenship, and service to others. Grace Rose has been a Girl Scout since the first grade. Her hard work has paid off, as she finds herself in a position to potentially win the Girls Scout Gold Award.
This award is an independent project for any Girl Scout in high school. On average, only 6% of all Girl Scouts pursue this project. This project is personal to each Girl Scout, as they have to choose a topic or problem that they want to see accomplished. Scouts must devote eighty hours minimum to the project and it must have a sustainable, long-lasting effect.
Starting in middle school, Grace became fascinated and shocked by human trafficking as she learned a lot about it in church. She was further alarmed to learn it isn’t only happening in other countries, but in the U.S and even New Jersey. “I felt that I had to bring education and awareness to this topic as some people don’t realize how complex and serious it is,” Grace stated.
Since human trafficking is so complex, she decided to hold an event to spread awareness to her community. This took place on October 20th from 2pm to 4pm at the Totowa Community Center, holding about 40 people in total.
Allowing people to understand human trafficking in depth, Grace had three special guest speakers. Officer Kevin Tillman, of the Department of Homeland Security, spoke on cyber security and other precautions/indicators that he thinks everyone should be aware of. A survivor from Hoving Home shared her testimony as well. Along with these two guest speakers, she showed a short film that highlighted the stories of two girls that were manipulated into human trafficking situations.
At the conclusion of her event, her Gold Award Advisor Susan Panzica, cofounder of justicenetwork.org, spoke about labor trafficking. This occurs most commonly in countries where poverty is severe. However, it still accounts for 20% of American human trafficking. She spoke about purchasing ethically produced coffee, chocolate, and fair trade products as well. Ending her event, Grace gave out goodie bags of info cards and keychains with the Human Trafficking Hotline number on it.
Grace's story was quickly picked up by local news outlets like NorthJersey.com/The Record.