Good As Gold

Girl Scout Abby Marone took on a project that earned her a Gold Award but the real win was priceless

Abby Marone is driven, determined and has a heart of gold every bit as big as her Girl Scout Gold Award. And the children who come to the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit are the ones benefitting from it all.

The bright and energetic 16 year old from Belvidere, NJ, was looking for a project to fulfill her Gold Award and found just the thing at Good Shepherd. Through her mother’s business relationship at Good Shepherd, Abby got in touch with Michele Shara, a recreational therapist at the pediatric unit in Bethlehem, and began brainstorming ideas. The result was an age-appropriate Sensory Guide with activities for the various senses that both the therapists and parents can use at home with their children.

“Sensory integration is not something people usually know about and I wanted to raise awareness,” says Abby.

The guide is especially helpful for children in the feeding program, those with developmental delays and those who have been hospitalized for lengthy periods of time and benefit from sensory play when they come to Good Shepherd, explains Michele.

But Abby didn’t stop there. She exceeded Michele’s expectations and held a toy drive based on a wish list. She started raising money with a local Brownie Troop 95041 in Harmony, NJ, then expanded the drive to her Girl Scout service unit, her school at Notre Dame High School, Green Pond, Easton, and the law firm of King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul in Bethlehem, where attorney Peter McEvoy works. Peter also coaches the mock trial team at Abby’s school.

When all was said and done, Abby bought and received $2,000 in toys, a play house and a washable play pen/bassinet combo that was high on Michele’s wish list.

“She’s amazing. She really is,” says Michele.

“It was a humbling experience for me,” says Abby, “because when I was in the thick of research, I sometimes felt overwhelmed. But once the project was finished and I was able to see how the guide helped and how happy the kids were with the toys, I realized it wasn’t my project; it was theirs.”


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