Providence student a golden girl in Scouting
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News July 3, 2012 4:36PM
Valerie Zecca of Minooka is earning her Girl Scout Gold Award by creating a free clothing depot for Trinity Services clients in New Lenox. | submitted photo
Updated: August 6, 2012 11:46AM
MINOOKA — Valerie Zecca is going for her Gold Award in Girl Scouts with a project designed to help developmentally disabled adults.
Zecca has just wrapped up creating and putting into place “The Clothes Closet,” an area of shelving and clothing rods at the Trinity Services drop-off center in New Lenox, and has stocked it with donated adult clothing that will be given to clients of the center.
It’s a project she enjoyed as much as benefiting from it for her award.
“I’ve gotten to know three of the clients,” she said, “and they were really personable and great to work with.”
Zecca is a senior at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox and was familiar with the center. According to the center’s director, Jim Chuporak, Trinity Services is an adult service agency for people with developmental disabilities. The agency helps its clients lead full and abundant lives, he said.
The Clothes Closet is designed to help them with items of clothing they need but don’t have, such as dressier outfits for interviews or work clothes or even just everyday clothing items.
“I wanted something that satisfied the Girl Scout guidelines and would be useful and that people would really appreciate,” she said.
She has been in the Girl Scout program for 11 years, since Brownies in first grade. She’s loved meeting new people, trying different activities and going on outings. One of her favorites was camping overnight at the St. Louis Zoo where the girls could hear the noises of the animals during the night.
She achieved her Silver Award with Minooka Troop 895 by organizing a knot blanket workshop with the rest of her troop for patients at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Her Journey Award was achieved by collecting donations for the Guardian Angel Home.
She has stuck with the program even when her troop disbanded, becoming an independent, or Juliette Girl Scout, currently with a rank of ambassador.
Her Gold Award project involved raising money through a large garage sale and by visiting younger Scouting troops for donations. She purchased the hardware and got clothing donations from friends and family and set the center up at Trinity.
According to Chuporak, for the time being, the donations are going to be solicited through Trinity Services staff, volunteers, and friends. If it goes well, he will open it up for donations from the public.
“It was a lot of work,” Zecca said, “but it was definitely worth it. It was a really good feeling.”