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Coat collectors are real troopers

Girl Scouts initiate to earn Bronze Award

Posted: February 17, 2009 1:11 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Becky Dobson and Stefano Ghio unload vehicle as Kassi Dobson, Camille Manzana, and Victoria Ghio carry coats to a garage.

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Junior Girl Scouts from Troop 7312 piled up dozens of trash bags full of coats outside a Bridgeport Elementary School classroom.

The 12 girls collected 627 coats for the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission through a coat drive they initiated to earn their Bronze Award, said troop leader Diane Dobson.

"My sister and I altogether collected 143 coats," said Dobson's third-grade daughter Becky.

The Bronze Award project required the Girl Scouts to coordinate an effort that benefited the community, said assistant leader Kara Barios.

"It's the first of three awards - bronze, silver, and gold," said fifth-grader Kassi Dobson. "Earning it shows that you are very proud of being a Girl Scout and you're ready to go to the next level."

The girls put 15 hours of work into the coat drive to earn their Bronze Award, Diane Dobson said.

"Each girl tried to secure a location to place a drop box," she said. "They were required to maintain their box, make sure it stayed in good condition and emptied it when needed. The boxes stayed in place for at least a week."

Fifth-grader Corbin McNair set up her drop box at Bridge Cleaners in Santa Clarita and received a lot of coat donations, she said.

The girls also placed a drop box in the lobby of Bridgeport Elementary.

In addition to making drop boxes, the girls operated an all-day coat drive and placed flyers on their neighbors' doorsteps.

They returned later to pick up any donations that their neighbors left for them, Dobson said.

The coat drive showed the girls that a lot of people are willing to give their excess possessions to help others.

"I learned there are a lot of coats that are unused in my neighborhood," said fourth-grader Victoria Ghio.
Her neighbors donated bags of coats filled to the top, totaling more than 40 coats, Ghio said.

The Girl Scouts donated the coats to the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission's shelter and outreach program, which they discovered through the One Warm Coat organization's Web site.

Chris Mazza from the mission visited the girls' troop meeting Thursday and congratulated them.

"I wasn't expecting a turnout like this. It's way cold out there so it couldn't have come at a better time," Mazza said.

Project participants included Kassi Dobson, Becky Dobson, Sami Barios, Corbin McNair, Camille Manzana, Marissa Nava, Jisoo Kim, Jamie Lim, Victoria Ghio, Natalie Heaps, Noelle Min, and Sydney Croasmun.

The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission can accommodate 52 people every night and is located at 13422 Saticoy Street in North Hollywood.

The Web site is www.erescuemission.com.

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