DERRY — She's going for gold by reaching out to help those in need.
Jaime Robinson, 19, is earning her Gold Award, the highest and most prestigious level of honor in the Girls Scouts organization.
Open to those Scouts of high-school age or older, Robinson is an ambassador within Derry's Troop 20321, taking on the gold with a project to help reach out to help others.
The project REACH — Respect, Encourage, Assist, Care and Hope — is Robinson's effort to collect clothing, food items, school supplies, blankets, and personal care products to support the area's homeless community and families in need.
Robinson's goal for her gold was also to involve the congregation at First Parish Church in East Derry, where she said she received a lot of support through volunteers and other help.
As an older member of the troop, Robinson serves at ambassador level of Girl Scouting.
Getting the gold is often a difficult task, she said.
"There are a lot of prerequisites," she said, adding you have to be high-school age and the project should be something that continues after the initial work is complete, something sustainable. "And I wanted to do it with my church."
With the help and support of her church family at First Parish, Robinson's project will have life and keep going.
Before starting all her research, Robinson said she had to get the proper approvals from the Girl Scout officials to make sure the project met all the criteria for the honor.
"There are a lot of restrictions," she said.
Troop co-leader and Robinson's aunt Chris Cox said the gold project has to also teach the Scout to be a leader in the community.
First Parish and the Girl Scouts are a team effort, Cox said, with the girls volunteering often with church suppers and other events and programs.
"We get a lot of support from the church," Cox said.
The goal is to keep the program going on an annual basis, Cox said, to see if the need is there.
First Parish member Christine Lehoullier was on hand recently with a team of volunteers helping sort and organize all the donations to be distributed for Robinson's project. The distribution took place at the Marion Gerrish Community Center in Derry.
Robinson has worked hard, Lehouillier said, to make her gold award a reality.
"I love her enthusiasm," she said. "She brought the idea to the table and said, 'Let's do it.' I thought it was a fabulous idea."
The donations came in through many supporters, with piles of clothes, food, blankets and other items filling tables at the community center.
For Robinson, a Girl Scout for about 14 years, it's all about friends, family and learning all about leadership and community.
"We are all together, no matter what," she said.