Lauren: Standing Up for Others, Despite Wheelchair
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A Girl Scout from Shasta County, Lauren has experienced a lifetime of discrimination because she was born with multiple disabilities. Lauren is a member of a unique Girl Scout troop where each member has special needs because of conditions like autism, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy.
When Lauren was younger, her mom, Marty, would tell her that people just didn’t know that they were hurting the feelings of a person with disabilities. So it became a passion for Lauren at a very young age to educate the public. When she needed a Gold Award project, her passion and wanting to educate folks became a perfect fit.
“When my mom and I go to In and Out, sometimes we eat in the car,” Lauren explains. “Sometimes, there are birds around begging for food."
"One crow has a growth on its beak and another has no foot, only a leg and walks on one foot and a peg. The other birds chase away the two crows who are handicapped. They are bullied. The two birds are hungry and hurt. Often that is how the public treats the disabled. I only hope they don’t know any better.”
Lauren’s Gold Award project translated her passion into action by creating and delivering disability awareness workshops in her community to students, parents, and community organizations where she shares what it is like emotionally and physically to have a disability. Participants learn about 17 types of disabilities, from autism to learning impairment to schizophrenia, and how to recognize hurtful behaviors and shift to compassion and understanding.
“What would it be like if you couldn’t read anything?” she asks participants. “How would your life change?”
Lauren serves as an advocate for her Girl Scout sisters in her troop. Rather than being angry to see her friend with disabilities being discounted as a person, she now chooses to open a conversation.