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Girl Scout Power Strong in Eastchester

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. - It was all about Girl Scout Power at a special celebration held in Eastchester on Friday night.

Girls were rewarded for spending hours and hours devoted to making improvements for others as part of requirements for gold, silver and bronze awards.

The toast of the evening went to seven such young women, who earned their godlaward, the highest honor possible in Girl Scouts.

Francesca Bruno, Rebecca Fix, Kelley Grekklek, Lauren Mastroberardino, Sarah Orlando, Liana Piacquidio and Kristen Sorgi spent months organizing a leadership and performing a leadership project.

Judy Fix , Rebecca's mom is one of the troop leaders and has been with the girls since first grade.

"These projects take hours of work, planning ,organization and commitment," Fix said.

But before the families could pay tribute to the gold winners, luminaries such as Congresswoman Nita Lowey got a chance to congratulate them.

"I have enormous respect for you, and I am so pleased to able to be here to help you celebrate," said Lowey noting she had flown in from Washington D.C. only hours before the ceremony.

State Assembly member Amy Paulin spoke about her days as a Girl Scout and later as a Girl Scout leader, and brought the girls a citation from the State Assembly.

Westchester County Legislator Sheila Marcotte brought along honors from the county and proud dads and Eastchester Town Board members Fred Salanitro and Joe Dooley watched their daughters, Samantha and Caroline, each win silver medals for their participation in projects.

Mayor Steve Ecklond and Tuckahoe Trustee Steve Quigley, proud dads of Boy Scouts were also on hand to laud the young ladies.

Before they collected their awards, each of the girls spoke about their projects.

Bruno visited Willow House, a group home for developmentally disabled adults, where her fellow troop member Lauren Mastroberardino's Aunt Liz lives. Bruno helped Liz and her housemates create scrapbooks chronicling their favorite momemts.

Mastroberardino also did a project at Willow House, planting an herb garden there with the assistance of the residents.

"I knew I wanted to do a project where my aunt lives," she said. "I wanted as many people as possible to participate according to their abilities."

Sarah Orlando said that her project was the "most rewarding experience of my life." Orlando developed and carried out a seven week long arts and crafts program for seniors who attend the Lake Isle Seniors Nutrition Program.

Rebecca Fix raised money and donated it to the Eastchester High School Orchestra.

"Anyone who goes into the band room has seen the holes in the cellos and the scratches on the violins. We can get some new instruments now," Fix said.

Liana Piacquadio also raised money by holding a dance-a-thon. She raised $400 and purchased 16 Wii video games for the children's floor at White Plains Hospital.

"I am so proud that my dedication and hard work could make a difference," she said.

Kristin Sorgi described the big hugs and bigger smiles she got when she visited the Coachman Family Center, a homeless shelter located in White Plains. Sorgi collected and organized a children's library for at the shelter.

Kelly Greklek , who was unable to attend the ceremony, created a library of books on tapes for residents at the Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown.

The recipients of the gold award will now be Girls Scouts for Life.

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