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Published on August 09, 2019

Local Girl Scout Dedicates Gold Award Project to Wayne UNC Oncology Unit

When Senior Girls Scout Ambassador and Wayne Country Day School student Diya Shreenath was researching ideas last year for her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she discovered a passion for helping an underserved group – family caregivers.

Working with the community and her Girl Scout troop, she poured that passion into a series of projects designed to support caregivers and Oncology nurses at Wayne UNC Health Care.

“There are a lot of pamphlets out there about caring for a sick patient, but there are none about caring for yourself,” said Shreenath, who will soon begin her senior year of high school. As part of her Gold Award project, she researched and developed a pamphlet the hospital could distribute to caregivers, with resources both for self-care and support.

The next thing Shreenath realized was that family caregivers spend a lot of time in hospital rooms, so the ability to stay connected to family, friends and the outside world is vitally important. To help them stay connected, she designed, built and installed a charging station in the family waiting room in the Oncology unit.

“I saw a lot of charging stations that were really expensive, so I decided to build by own UL-certified and hospital approved station,” said Shreenath. “It includes charging cables, for all the different types of phones and a power grommet so caregivers can plug in other devices.”

diya shreenath shows off phone charging station she supplied for waiting area

To further help caregivers, Shreenath launched a community-wide drive and pooled money she earned from babysitting to purchase basic items family caregivers might need for long hospital stays. People were very responsive, and Shreenath was able to donate over 250 toiletries to the hospital, along with other items like soft tissues, books, games, CD player and CDs. As part of her project, Shreenath also hosted ‘Tea for the Soul’ with Pastoral Care for the Oncology nurses, patients and family caregivers.

Finally, Shreenath knew that encouragement and a sense of community were absolutely essential to everyone—patients, family caregivers and medical professionals alike. She and members of her Girl Scout troop painted canvasses with inspirational quotes to hang in the Oncology waiting room.

When Shreenath received a text message from a Wayne UNC Oncologist that described all of her efforts as amazing, she said she knew the more than 100 hours she dedicated to the project had developed something sustainable and of benefit to the community. More importantly, she knew that family caregivers were getting the recognition and support they needed.

In July, Shreenath received her Girl Scout Gold Award for the project she completed at Wayne UNC. Open to girls in high school only, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for Girl Scouts – and the most difficult to earn. Shreenath’s Gold Award project has also been selected by Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines as one they will feature on their social media to market the benefits of becoming a Girl Scout and highlight the amazing achievements of currently enrolled girls.

On the way to accomplishing her Gold Award, Shreenath also selected Wayne UNC as the beneficiary of her Silver Project, when she donated a cart full of books and games to our Pediatric floor.

Our team at Wayne UNC is grateful to Diya for the generous gift of her time, effort and action that continues to make a difference in the lives of our teammates and patients. We wish her great success as she pursues her future plans of entering the medical field.

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