A Heart of Gold: Senior Hannah Zenas Earns Girl Scouts’ Gold Award

Sep 30, 2014 | Uncategorized, Upper School News

DSCN0162 (1)Mount Vernon senior Hannah Zenas has earned the most prestigious award in Girl Scouting. The Gold Award, only open to girls in high school, represents the highest achievement in the organization with the sole purpose of challenging its recipients to change the world.
And Hannah Zenas has done just that. For the past three years through volunteering with Northside Hospital, Zenas has dramatically impacted the lives of both high risk pregnant women and cancer patients.
To earn the award Hannah was required to perform 80 hours of volunteer service on a project she created. By the end of the project, Hannah completed more than 240 hours over the course of two and half years.
In the High Risk Perinatal Center Hannah initially helped mothers feel more comfortable by providing water or juice, making their beds, and assisting the nurses as needed. Through this experience she developed tremendous empathy for patients, and as a result, was inspired to take her volunteer efforts further.
Exploring an opportunity to do more to help these women, Hannah created a program called Hobbies at High Risk. Through research, she learned bed-ridden expectant mothers are at higher risks of depression and anxiety because of the stress and boredom that accompany being cooped up in a small hospital room for extended durations of time. The goal of her project was to eliminate some of the boredom by helping these women learn new hobbies for their own health and that of their babies. Creating an Entertainment Center at the hospital, she put together a place where the women could retrieve books, magazines, DVDs, puzzle books, and craft supplies at any time. She started workshops for the women to socialize with one another. Hannah even hosted a spa day, so the women could feel cared for and pampered. Overall she spent more than 200 hours working on this project creating a meaningful difference.
Lately, Hannah has been volunteering at Northside Hospital’s Infusion Center. The Infusion Center is a branch of the Cancer Center where cancer patients undergo chemotherapy. Hannah says it has been her favorite place to volunteer and adds, “The patients are all so incredible. I’ve learned so much from being in this unit, and it has truly ignited a passion for serving others and ultimately influencing my future career decisions.”
Through this experience it has been Hannah’s job to make the patients more comfortable by providing them with warm blankets and refreshments, assisting them to the bathrooms, wheeling them back to their cars, and cleaning chairs and areas after they leave. Like the Entertainment Center experience she created for high risk expectant mothers, Hannah started a knitting and crocheting club at Mount Vernon so other students could also give back to the Infusion Center. So far the Mount Vernon Knitting Club has made 20 hats and scarves for the chemo patients. Through their efforts the club plans to create many more hats and scarves for patients at Northside, St. Josephs, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Mount Vernon wishes to congratulate Hannah, a truly extraordinary student, and plans are in place this year to recognize her achievement formally at School. The Girls Scouts will honor Zenas officially during the Gold Award Ceremony, February 22 at the Fox Theatre.