CUMMING, Ga. — A passion for lacrosse and shoes helped Natalie Howard lay the groundwork for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
The Gold Award is equal to the Boy Scout Eagle Award. Any Gold Award project must address both local and global communities.
Howard, a senior at South Forsyth High School, combined lacrosse and shoes to raise awareness and goods for Sole Hope, a nonprofit organization bringing shoes, jobs and hope to widows and orphans in Uganda, Zambia and local Atlanta missions.
Howard’s project began in March of 2012 by hosting an athletic shoe and equipment drive.
She promoted her drive throughout the county and collected about 200 pairs of shoes when it ended in May.
Howard continued her project out on the lacrosse field.
In April, Howard gathered 24 girls from first through fourth grade and seven varsity players for a lacrosse fundamentals clinic. The clinic helped raise money to cover shipping costs of the donated goods for Sole Hope. Howard said she and her teammates spent three hours with the girls running drills and teaching them the fundamentals of the game. Many of the girls who participated also brought donations of shoes and cleats to contribute to Sole Hope.
The third and global component of Howard’s project was to prepare cutouts of shoes in several size patterns for Sole Hope.
“This group has identified the dire need for children in Uganda and Zambia to have simply sewn shoes made from recycled denim, lining material, heel reinforcements from plastic drink containers and the rubber from tires in order to combat the prevalence of parasites and disease caused by the lack of footwear,” Howard said.
Howard hosted parties for people to get together and prepare cutouts and shoe patterns for the organization. The patterns were then shipped by Sole Hope to widows in Africa to be sewn together to create shoes.
“This is the highest award she can earn as a Girl Scout,” Natalie’s mother Kathy Howard said. “So we are quite proud of her that she has continued with Girl Scouts from kindergarten through her senior year at South Forsyth High School.”