These homeless Girl Scouts wanted to sell 6,000 cookie boxes. They sold more than 32,000.

The girls in Troop 6000 look like any other Girl Scouts, sporting patch-covered vests and asking people to buy cookies. The difference? The girls are homeless.

Troop 6000 was created in 2016 to serve girls living in New York City's homeless shelter system. It’s a unique but wonderful idea — a Girl Scout troop with leaders trained from inside the shelter system itself, to empower both women and girls and give them the opportunity to benefit from everything the Girl Scouts program has to offer.

Troop 6000 members met with New York legislator and community leaders to celebrate their unique status as the first Girl Scout troop for homeless girls. Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images.


According to the Girl Scouts website, “Research has shown that Girl Scout alumnae have a stronger sense of self, achieve higher levels of education, and are more likely to reach a higher socio-economic status.”

No doubt the community, consistency, and confidence-building that Girl Scouts offer would be especially beneficial for girls facing the challenge of homelessness. But as it turns out, these girls are also good for Girl Scouts.

They not only surpassed their first cookie sales goal — they totally obliterated it.

According to NBC News, this was the first year the troop participated in the traditional cookie fundraiser. They arranged to set up shop and sell their cookies at Kellogg's NYC Café in Union Square.

The girls set a goal to sell 6,000 boxes of cookies in six days. They ended up selling more than 32,500.

Customers stood in hour-long lines to buy cookies from the girls, in addition to donating at total of $15,000 additional funds to the troop. Meridith Maskara, CEO of Girl Scouts Greater New York, called the sale a "resounding success." Um, yeah. I'd say so.

Cookie proceeds and donations go toward funding the troop’s various learning and service projects. I see awesome things coming for these girls.

When a community comes together to serve those who are struggling, amazing things can happen.

Troop 6000 was launched by Giselle Burgess, a mother of five who became homeless while working for the Girl Scouts of Greater New York in 2016. Her rental home was put up for sale, and she found herself at a Sleep Inn along with other families facing homelessness.

Members of Troop 6000 with Giselle Burgess, who spurred the troop's founding. Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images.

"When I first became homeless myself, I'd always thought homelessness was the man outside with the cardboard sign asking for money," Burgess told BuzzFeed News. "But it’s working women, it’s working families."

With the help of Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Mayor de Blasio, and the city’s Department of Homeless Services, Burgess’ idea for Troop 6000 came to fruition. At a little more than a year old, it’s thriving. Thousands of children live in the New York City homeless shelter system, and the troop now has nearly 300 members.

Troop 6000 sold more than five times as many cookies as they had planned. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Girls in the troop say their Girl Scout experiences have changed their lives.

"The difference between me and before Troop 6000 is that I can speak up more,” Troop 6000 member Sanaa told Spectrum News NY1, “and I don't have to feel like I'm different at all."

"All of us envision we're so powerful, and we have a voice," said another scout, Karina. "Even if our voice is small, we have a voice and we can impact this world."

Can’t wait to see what impact these girls make next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less