ROCKLEIGH, N.J. -- Rockleigh Girl Scout Maya Pontone recently earned her Gold Award educating local residents about recycling gently-used implantable cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers to help others who cannot afford them.
“As they are unable to afford expensive medical costs, millions of people around the world die each year due to lack of access to these life-saving devices,” said Pontone.
Her project, she explained, focused on making people aware of the option they have once they are done using their devices, whether it be after death or replacing their device.
She contacted senior centers, funeral homes, and hospitals to share information about how these items can be recycled and reused.
“Many senior citizens responded enthusiastically to the option of donation and wanted to learn more. I learned just how much of an impact I could have on my community just by simply reaching out to others," Pontone said.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and requires the completion of a leadership project of at least 80 hours.
Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.
Pontone is a senior at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, where she is co-president of the Diversity Club and a member of the varsity lacrosse team, cross country team, Gifted and Talented program, Ski Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and National Honor Society.
She has been a Girl Scout in Troop No. 60701 since the first grade.
Her future plans are to study creative writing in college and pursue a career in journalism, film, or media.
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