FOR THE past six years, Sarah Reardon and Jaclyn Leaf have assembled Easter baskets filled with all sorts of goodies for young cancer patients and other ill children.
On Tuesday, Sarah and Jaclyn will be making their last delivery to John Hopkins Hospital's pediatric oncology outpatient unit in Baltimore. But the 17-year-olds - who are graduating in June from Mount Hebron and Centennial high schools, respectively - hope their yearly community service work will continue without them.
"We've been trying to find younger Girl Scout troops to try to take the reign," Sarah said.
After all, the community service began as a Girl Scouts project for Sarah and Jaclyn, who were sixth-graders at the time.
The first year, they put together 26 Easter baskets filled with a book, a stuffed animal, an activity book, pens, pencils and other trinkets with the help of donations from businesses. Repeat donors have included Hecht's and Hallmark.
"We had so much fun with it," Sarah said.
And "delivering the baskets puts a warm feeling in your heart and makes me feel good about doing good for other people," Jaclyn said.
So the project continued and expanded each year.
Sarah and Jaclyn - who are the only members of Troop 2137 - have assembled nearly 200 baskets so far this year.
"Really, this project is a real community service project," Sarah said. "The community is involved, not only us. It's the help of all these people."
The community service also has inspired the teenagers' career choices. Sarah and Jaclyn want to pursue nursing in college.
Sarah has been accepted to Salisbury University and plans to major in nursing and Spanish. Jaclyn plans to attend Howard Community College.
Howard County parents are known for their volunteer work and involvement in the county's public schools.
Now they're being recognized nationally.
Patuxent Valley and Lime Kiln middle schools recently earned the National PTA's Parent Involvement School of Excellence certification.
The certification recognizes schools that have standards that promote parent and family involvement. Patuxent Valley and Lime Kiln join 12 other Howard County schools that have received School of Excellence certifications.
They include Bollman Bridge Elementary in Jessup; Burleigh Manor Middle, Ellicott Mills Middle, Hollifield Station Elementary, Waverly Elementary and Worthington Elementary in Ellicott City; Harper's Choice Middle, Jeffers Hills Elementary, Northfield Elementary and Talbott Springs Elementary in Columbia; River Hill High in Clarksville; and Rockburn Elementary in Elkridge.
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