To earn their Silver Award, four girls from Half Hollow Hills Girl Scout Troop 362 decided they wanted to help children less fortunate than themselves.
Raquel Golinowski, Sarah Kaplan, Lauren Kreinces and Alexandra Parker chose to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island - a home-away-from-home for the families of seriously ill children undergoing critical medical treatment in area hospitals. The girls themselves the “Cheer Foundation,” an acronym for Creating Happiness Everywhere and Establishing Relationships and now make monthly visits to the house.
“We chose the Ronald McDonald house because we wanted the opportunity to help children and their families through a hard time and hopefully put a smile on their faces,” Parker said.
Since November, the Cheer Foundation has developed a monthly snack and seasonal craft program for the children, whether they are children undergoing treatment or the siblings of those who are ill. In January the Cheer Foundation created intricate snowflakes to decorate the home’s kitchen and in February they made over 20 Valentine’s mailboxes that were stuffed with cards and notes with good wishes.
The group’s mission changed however, when they realized there was an abundance of baked goods available to the Ronald McDonald House residents, but no healthy options.
“During our February visit we cut strawberries into the shape of hearts. They were devoured instantly which gave us the idea to bring fruits for each of our visits,” Kreinces said.
From there, the girls went on to create a cookbook with fun, easy to make, healthy snack recipes, which they gave to the organization. In addition, through generous donations from Melville based, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc, as well as Greenfield and Glass Garden’s ShopRite stores, the Cheer Foundation is now able to make healthy snacks from their cookbook with each visit.
“These amazing young ladies bring sunshine to the House with every visit,” said Betty McClellan, Volunteer/ Program Coordinator at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. “Their name, ‘Cheer Foundation’ fits them perfectly. It is gratifying to have volunteers like Girl Scout Troop #362 who are committed to our cause. On behalf of the children who benefit most from the comfort we provide, we thank the “Cheer Foundation” from the bottom of our hearts.”