Girl Scout puts ‘heart and soul’ into blood drive

Local library ‘proud’ to support student initiatives


On Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a blood drive will be hosted by the Bayport-Blue Point Library as the capstone project for BBP high school junior Amanda Woods’s Girl Scout Gold Award.

Dedication to community service is a longstanding tradition and tenet of the Woods family, who boast two older brothers who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with the BSA, and parents Tom and Diane’s careers in the FDNY and special education, respectively.

“Amanda has always wanted to help people, from a very young age,” said Diane. “Her volunteer schedule is so busy and we’re happy for her with all that she is a part of.”

A Girl Scout since kindergarten, the Gold Award is the pinnacle achievement in the organization.

The idea to conduct a blood drive “blossomed from a lifelong dream of pursuing medicine and making a meaningful impact on the lives of others,” according to Amanda.

“After learning about various global issues affecting Americans, I found myself drawn to the critical need for blood donation. Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the importance of giving blood as my family members regularly donated. In researching the need for blood, I discovered that only a small percentage of New Yorkers donate their blood, despite the critical need,” said Amanda.

By partnering with New York Blood Center, Amanda hopes her project will address the disparity and raise awareness about the lifesaving sustainability of blood donation.

As a single blood donation has the potential to save up to three individual lives, Amanda would like to make a lasting impact on attendees for the event to become regular donors.

“Partnering with Melissa Gatto, my mentor from the New York Blood Center, provided invaluable guidance and help in organizing a successful blood drive. Additionally, having the support of Dr. Hearney, superintendent of Bayport-Blue Point school district, Mr. Nolan, interim principal of Bayport-Blue Point High School, Mrs. Dawson, the Reform Club advisor, and district teachers and staff was instrumental in ensuring widespread awareness of the event within the school. Furthermore, Kelly Sheridan, the teen librarian at the Bayport-Blue Point Library, played a pivotal role by providing a venue for the blood drive and actively promoting the event within the community,” said Amanda.

From earning badges to embarking on outdoor adventures, each experience “solidified” Amanda’s commitment to making a difference as the Girl Scouts were not just an extracurricular activity to her: “it became a part of who I am.”

Previous volunteer projects included aiding local shelters, cleanups in the community, and selling cookies with fellow troop members from GSSC Troop 86.

“I discovered the joy of giving back and the strength of friendship. But what truly kept me going was the simple yet profound directive from the Girl Scout Law, to ‘make the world a better place.’ This guiding principle became my inspiration, reminding me that even as one person, I could spark positive change. With each project and initiative, I strived to embody the qualities that I had recited so many times in the Girl Scout Motto and Law.”

For fellow Girl Scouts pursuing their Gold Award, Amanda advised for them to be “true to their passion” and “despite the obstacles you may face, every ounce of effort you put in is worth it!”

Great credit to the community is given by the Woods family, who cite the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce, the Bayport-Blue Point Library, the Bayport Firehouse, congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-2nd District), councilman Neil Foley (R-5th District), the school community, friends, and family as all having contributed their advertising efforts.

“Their ongoing support and generosity were instrumental in realizing the goals of my project. I am immensely grateful for everyone involved in my Girl Scout Gold Award project, demonstrating the power of community in making a positive impact,” said Amanda.

Superintendent of Bayport-Blue Point school district, Dr. Tim Hearney, said, “Amanda is the definition of a well-rounded student… What truly makes Amanda stand out is the success she has had with everything she does. From academics, to the arts and fields, to giving back to our community, she puts her heart and soul into it all.”

Bayport-Blue Point Library director, Mike Firestone, echoed the sentiments and said, “We’re proud to support student-led initiatives like Amanda’s blood drive, reflecting our commitment to empowering local youth in community service. Our library staff has worked closely with Amanda, providing a welcoming space and coordinating logistics to ensure the success of this meaningful event on Saturday.”  


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