My first involvement with Ana Menchaca was through her Girl Scout troop. They volunteered to work on a project the Rotary Club of Austin was coordinating for BookSpring.
The girls collected gently used books from their friends and classmates, took the donation to BookSpring, and prepped the books for distribution to children and families in Central Texas.
The troop delivered them to low income free clinics. Families waiting for well child exams can select from books in the waiting room to take home and keep.
The troop was thrilled about this project when they realized how excited these children would be to receive these free books. They continued to do this project multiple times over several years.
I realized during this time that much of the enthusiasm and direction for these projects was directly due to the natural leadership skills and caring nature of Ana who worked tirelessly to make the collection of books for the clinics sustainable.
The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting awarded to girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in community based projects with a sustainable impact on the community.
When Ana decided to do her Gold Award project, her focus was creating a sustainable way to continue the collection and distribution of books, by designing, building, and placing permanent book collection boxes at Canyon Creek, Spicewood, and Laurel Mountain Elementary.
Ana arranged for this project to be a service activity for the Westwood High School Interact Club and for all the students at the three elementary schools. The Interact students continue to pick up the books that the elementary students collect and deliver them to BookSpring.
This collection has already helped over 650 children have books to read and will continue as a legacy thanks to Ana’s great organizational skills and her foresight into getting local organizations involved. Ana spent over 80 hours planning and developing to make sure this project would be a success. That is true devotion, commitment, and service above self.
She is an amazing young adult and it is so inspiring to see young people who are interested in finding ways to make a difference every day and inspire others to join them in this desire to help others. Ana will follow in her dad’s footsteps when she is old enough to join Rotary because she already possesses all the characteristics of a true Rotarian. What a great future role model!
By: Mary Reynolds, Rotary Club of Austin