WADSWORTH — Ten Girl Scouts from Wadsworth Troop 90338 packed “journey bags” for foster children Saturday at The Village of St. Edward, a new senior-living community on Main Street.
Journey bags are duffel bags containing socks, blankets, pillows, water bottles, toiletries, dolls, stuffed animals and coloring books. The bags are precious for foster children, who tend to move from home to home. Many have nothing but garbage bags in which to keep their belongings.
“A trash bag should not be a child’s suitcase,” said Larkin Tackett, 11, one of the Scouts who participated Saturday.
The journey bag project was a collaboration between the Scouts, The Village of St. Edward and Fostering Hope, a Pepper Pike nonprofit that supports foster children.
The goal Saturday was to prepare 100 journey bags. The Scouts had collected bags and items prior to last weekend, but some folks donated articles Saturday at The Village of St. Edward.
The Scouts chose the journey bag project to earn their Bronze Award, which is the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve, according to the Girl Scouts website. A Bronze Award project involves creating a plan, moving forward with the plan and spreading the word.
Troop 90338 spread the word by promoting their project March 28 on Wadsworth Community Radio. The radio station also broadcast live from The Village of St. Edward on Saturday.
Becky Soucie, troop leader, said the girls considered 10 ideas for their Bronze Award project. Then she found out about journey bags from a friend. She also learned that more than 3,000 foster children live in Northeast Ohio and almost 300 live in Medina County alone.
“Foster children are among the most overlooked charity kids,” Soucie said. “When I told the girls about it, this is what they unanimously agreed to do.”
The Village of St. Edward became involved because Soucie is director of nursing there. Staff members and residents at the senior-living community, which opened in January, helped stuff journey bags, and The Village of St. Edward in Fairlawn contributed items.
“We love to do these community events,” said Annette Walters, director of marketing at The Village of St. Edward. “This event blends right in with our mission. And we have a number of residents who used to be Girl Scouts. They were honored to be part of this.”
Chris Tackett, Larkin’s mom, was proud of her daughter. Tackett is a pediatric psychiatric nurse who is now teaching.
“Working with foster children has been at the forefront of my career my entire life,” Tackett said. “Doing this, and having my daughter involved, was a big deal for me.”