Lauren Frisch, a freshman at the University of Northern Colorado, grew up volunteering in her community and participating in service projects. As she got older, she was drawn to help in homeless shelters and soup kitchens. As a Girl Scout, she drew on those experiences to make change earning her the Girls Scout Gold Award.
The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. In order to receive the award, Girl Scouts must “make our world a better place by taking action to address issues facing their local communities,” the Girl Scouts of Colorado website states.
Frisch is among 45 other scouts to win the award, including Anna Hartwick, also from Broomfield. Hartwick’s project addressed declining bird populations due to human-related causes. She worked with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to educate the community on how to reduce bird-window collisions, created a website and self-published a book “Billy the Bird Visits the City.”
For Frisch’s project, she created a bridge housing program at her church for families experiencing homelessness.
Frisch was drawn to volunteering in soup kitchens and homeless shelters because she liked hearing the people’s stories. It allowed her to get to know the people she was working with and to connect with them, she said.
Working with Family Promise — a nationwide organization that transforms the lives of families experiencing homelessness, the website states — Frisch decided it was time to break the cycle of homelessness.
She had heard many stories of families going through programs to get themselves out of homelessness just ending up there again due to the high costs of rent. She wanted to see if she could find places that would house these folks as they saved for housing deposits.
“Their stories inspired me to take action,” Frisch said.
Frisch identified an unused room at her church — Arvada United Methodist Church — and asked if she could turn it into temporary housing for struggling families. Her church agreed and she began reaching out for donations, gathering the small necessities such as beds, dishes, towels and furniture.
Although a family has yet to be hosted in the room, Frisch is hopeful one will be matched with her program soon. Families working with Family Promise were given vouchers for hotel rooms during the pandemic, eliminating the immediate need for her program, Frisch said.
As people continue to struggle, the bridge program set up by Frisch will be needed soon and she hopes to create a handbook for other groups to take on a similar project in unused spaces.
“That way more families do not end up homeless once they graduate from their programs,” Frisch said.
“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good — and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Leanna Clark, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado.“Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and she’s grown as a leader in the process. We congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment, and I can’t wait to see what they can achieve in the future.”