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Eighteen year old West Morris Central High School student, and Girl Scout, Jessica Lynn Hughes, only needed to put in 65 hours of community service to acquire the highest honor a Girl Scout can attain—the prestigious Gold Award. But Jessica’s project, which involved donating DVDs, gift cards, cookies, and a video game system to a Kentucky Fischer House, which is a not-for-profit foundation that houses the families of patients who have been injured in war, took a whole year to complete hers.
The reason: “There was a lot of paperwork involved,” Hughes says.
Hughes, who is also the Captain for the RelayForLife at her school, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is a walk for those who either have cancer or have already died from it, did all of the paperwork on her on, but the rest of the fundraiser—attaining the materials and making the cookies, all came from help from the community.
“[When choosing my project], I knew I wanted to do something with kids,” Hughes says, who enlisted scouts in her troop to help, “I wanted to involve the younger girl scouts.”
Outside of her troop, though, who helped make the cookies, she also enlisted another person to aid her in her cause—her Weichert Associate mother, Kim Hughes, who got coworkers to chip in and donate money for the troops.
“I thought it was a worthwhile cause,” says Kim Hughes, “and she [Jessica] just rolled with it.
Outside of the parents of the Girl Scouts who donated most of the DVDs, and Kim Hughes’ business partners who raised the money, Jessica also reached out to Walmart for help, as she heard that they were up to donate materials if it was all for a good cause.
“[Walmart] donated $50,” Jessica says, who got the idea to donate to the Fischer House from her advisor.
This isn’t the first time Jessica has worked for the betterment of others, though. For her silver award, Jessica ran a day care around Christmas for parents to leave their children there so they could go buy presents for the holidays. And for her bronze award, she wrapped presents for kids in a foster home. But neither of those was as big as this recent one, which had the soldiers so grateful for her offering that they wanted to thank her personally.
“After my project was over, some of the soldiers contacted me and wanted to visit to talk at our school,” Hughes said, “but our schedules conflicted.”
Even so, her contributions were felt, and her mother knew she had it in her all along.
“I’m blessed,” Kim Hughes says, “She’s a very community minded person.”