The National Institute for Mental Health estimates that on average 17% of girls suffer from depression annually and they experience depression more than boys on average. The chances for depression and other mental health issues rises after a traumatic experience.

With this in mind, I focused my Gold Award project on helping teen girls who live in a group residence at Family and Children's Aid (FCA), a local social services organization. From FCA’s website, “FCA operates under the belief that children are society's most valuable assets. For over 200 years, FCA has been providing children with safe homes and therapeutic support allowing children to lead healthier lives. FCA believes that seeking help is a sign of strength. We believe excellent care should be available to individuals and families in all walks of life, whenever needed. Effective and professional mental health care makes our children healthier and communities stronger.”

I chose to focus specifically on the girls in the home, as they do not have family or parents available at the moment to care for them. My project addressed how to help these girls feel relaxed and positive by renovating and designing a space the girls can access to cope, manage stress, access resources and just hang out. There was an existing room in the home that was not being used and was accumulating unwanted items and had a neglected feel to it. After working with the FCA staff to discuss initial plans, I formed a team that consisted of an interior designer, yoga teacher and essential oil expert, a member of a local foundation that agreed to donate books and some younger Girl Scouts who would help me renovate the furniture.

I also sought buy-in from the residents by creating a survey to ask them for their preferences on color and decorations. After they communicated their input I was able to create a vision board with ideas as well as some sample fabrics, paint colors and decorative objects.

I put up donation bins in my town, advertised on social media and collected rugs, artwork and accessories and raised money through the Girl Scout Treats and Reads program to purchase a comfortable new lounge chair, reading lamp and window treatments. I cleaned the room and even planted a garden right outside for the girls to enjoy as having access to nature is key to relaxation. I also made some custom essential oil blends which I put in roller ball containers and was given some great bracelets that the girls could use to add a drop or two to wear the fragrance.

I also researched healthy coping strategies such as how to meditate and do yoga and provided that information in the room along with gathering resources such as yoga mats, art coloring books, essential oils and books so that the girls could find a restful spot to relax and de-stress. This website is also a resource for the girls and other young women in the community to access to learn some of these techniques that will alleviate stress - specifically for teenaged girls.

I hope you benefit from learning how to lessen the stress in your own life.

Sincerely,

Charlotte Anglade