Awareness and Achievement


Maddie Engblom and Ella Godun, two Rancho Bernardo residents and members of Girl Scout Troop 8907, recently completed their Silver Award Project. The Girl Scout Silver Award recognizes projects that have made a sustainable impact on community needs, and Maddie and Ella took inspiration from a cause close to their hearts.

“For our project we were inspired by our friend Gia Rose,” Maddie explained. “Gia is four years old and has Down Syndrome, but that does not define her. We don’t want her or any child to grow up in a world where discrimination and bullying is allowed.” Maddie and Ella learned that while more than two million people in the country are affected by Down Syndrome, the condition is the least funded chromosomal disability in the United States. Maddie added, “Oftentimes people with Down Syndrome don’t get the same opportunities at work and school that other people get, and kids and teens with Down Syndrome are three times more likely to get bullied.”


Maddie and Ella chose to work with GiGi’s Playhouse San Diego to make a difference. The nonprofit serves individuals with Down Syndrome of all ages with educational and career development programs, along with raising broader awareness. Maddie and Ella raised money for a sensory cart filled with art supplies – so much that they were able to purchase two full carts and a Wii console with games for the teen program. They also gave informational presentations to local Rotary clubs and other community organizations.

“We were very excited and proud to be able to help such a great organization and would like to continue to advocate for people with Down Syndrome by sharing this information with as many people as possible,” Maddie said.

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