Junior Girl Scout's project helps children bear troubles

Fund-raiser: A 12-year-old girl in Aberdeen hopes to build 200 stuffed animals for kids in need and earn a Bronze Award in the process.

April 04, 2004|By Amanda Ponko | Amanda Ponko,SUN STAFF

Girl Scouts, though famous for their cookies, have advocated leadership, courage, compassion and responsibility among young women since the 1920s - and 12-year-old Jazzmine Marr of Aberdeen is proving she possesses all these qualities and more.

Jazzmine, a three-year Junior Girl Scout in Troop 1155, is raising funds to make stuffed animals at the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Towson Town Center, which will be donated to local police departments to give to scared or upset children they encounter on the job.

The idea came to her, she said, after she received a stuffed animal to comfort her.

Sparse donations

"Someone once gave me a bear when I was upset, and it made me feel better," Jazzmine said. "I thought I'd help others in my situation. ... I think they'd be really happy to get a stuffed animal."

The sixth-grader has mailed more than 100 fliers requesting donations to local government officials, business owners and residents in the area to try to reach her goal of $2,000 before her April 29 deadline.

If her donation goal is met, she can produce 200 bears for the Harford County Sheriff's Office. So far, she has collected $285.

Her mother and assistant troop leader, Mary Marr, said sparse contributions haven't discouraged her daughter.

"If we don't make it to $2,000, she still made a great effort," she said. "Some bears are better than none. ... I'm really proud of her. This has taught her a lot about maturity and responsibility."

The project has boosted Jazzmine's self-esteem, Marr said. Unlike some of her other school assignments and chores, her daughter does the work for the fund-raiser without complaint.

A worthy cause

Lt. Jim Eyler of the Harford County Sheriff's Office said he feels the project is a worthy cause and will undoubtedly be appreciated by the agency and the recipients of the bears.

"What's unique is these aren't bears she's just going out and buying," he said. "She's raising the money and actually building them. It's a very kind and generous gesture. It's a huge endeavor for anyone to accomplish, let alone a 12-year-old."

Rewarding effort

After the job is completed, Jazzmine will have earned her Bronze Award, the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can receive. She has been working toward this award for two years, devoting many hours and earning numerous badges. Completing the bear project is the final step.

When it's done, "I'll feel relaxed and relieved," she said, "but proud that I've finished it. [The project] is really important to me."

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