ACCORD Summer 2015 - page 14-15

For12years,AcademystudentMaggieMarquart (A’16)hasbeen
aGirlScout,and inJuneshe joined the fewer than6percentofGirl
Scoutsnationwidewho received theGoldAward. Theprestigious
award, which represents the highest honor in scouting, is given
to high school girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership
through sustainable and measurable projects. The past year,
Marquart spentmore than 80 hours planning and implementing
theSpirit,MindandBodyLibraryat theNewTampaFamilyYMCA.
A member of the Y’s Leaders’ Club since 8th grade, Marquart
noticed that children attending after-school programs and
summer campsat the facilitydidnot haveaccess tobooks. Inan
effort topromote literacy, shestartingcollectingbooksandother
donations to convert a seldom-used room at theY to the library.
“I had hoped by [having] easy access to the books, that the
childrenat theYMCAwouldbecomemore interested in reading,”
Marquartwrote inherGoldAwardapplication. “Thechildrenwho
come to the YMCA now benefit from having fun reading easily
available to them.”
With advocacy being a large portion of her project, Marquart
reached out to numerous peer groups, including friends,
classmates and neighbors, to request donations and explain the
importance of literacy. Her efforts yieldedmore than 200 books,
comfortable chairs, shelves and carpet squares. “By making
my library, I think I instilledmore of an interest in reading in the
childrenwhoparticipate in theseprograms.Atmy library, theyare
able to read for fun, not for schoolwork,” shesaid.
Though she has faced some challenges in keeping her library
organized, Marquart is pleased knowing her space is getting
muchuse. Her successwas evident when she happenedupon a
youngboy in the library, preparing to reada largestackof books.
She hopes many others in the future develop the same love of
reading, one that for her started with the Harry Potter series.
According to Marquart, “the more children enjoy reading, the
more their interests are stimulated, encouraging them to read a
varietyofbooks,whichwill expand theirhorizonsandopendoors
for newknowledge.”
Monica Mirza, executive director at New Tampa Family YMCA,
said of the space, “This reading library project was a perfect fit
for ourY. The reading libraryhelpsnourish themindsof children
and helps set them on a path for future learning and success.
The libraryhelpscreatea focuson readingandencouragesmore
opportunities for children inour community.”
In addition to her participation in Girl Scouts, Marquart is
involved at the Academy as a member of the diving team and
Ambassadors, the president of Reader’s Advisory club, a cast
member in “Hairspray,” and she participated in the Heart of
TampaandScrantonmission trips, amongother activities. She is
confident that her success in obtaining the Gold Awardwill lead
her to bigger projects that impact both her community and the
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