Thin Mints. Lemon-Ups. Do-Si-Dos. When you buy Girl Scouts cookies, you’re not only getting a sweet treat, but giving back to a good cause. There’s a Girl Scouts cookie program on Staten Island that not only supports the organization’s overall mission, but young girls who have special needs.
Girl Scouts Troops 5227 and 5312, based out of the Bernikow JCC of Staten Island and P37R, Great Kills, respectively, began their annual cookie sales in January. Scouts in both troops have special needs and disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other conditions.
Many of these scouts, ages 5 to 21, are nonverbal. They have difficulty communicating for a variety of reasons, and some have limited mobility. Despite their challenges, the troops have sold—to date—an impressive 12,000 boxes of cookies and counting. At $5-6 per box, that’s a lot of cookie dough to be proud of.
Selling the Cookies
Cookies are sold online, but also in person. The troop based at P37R, a NYC School District 75 school for children with special needs where scout leader Lisa Rosenfeld has worked for 31 years, sold their products in school.
“My principal allowed the girls to go around from classroom to classroom. In the beginning it was difficult for them to sell and kept looking at me for guidance on what to say,” says Lisa, a Huguenot resident. “Some of the girls are nonverbal, but use a device that says ‘buy cookies please.’ Those three words made these girls big cookie sellers. And then the other girls just followed through with it.”
Sort of like a chain of confidence that went from one scout to the next. Much of the success of the troops is because of Lisa, who founded Troop 5312 20 years ago, and two years later, Troop 5227. At the time, the community did not have a troop for girls with special needs.
“I felt that the girls in my school deserved to be part of something that every other little girl could be part of,” says Lisa. “I just felt these girls needed a troop to call their own and to be proud to wear that Girls Scouts vest.”
Proceeds from the cookie sales help cut the participation costs for the two troops. For all members of Troops 5227 and 5312, the Girl Scouts cookie program is an opportunity not only to raise money for their troops but also to develop valuable communication, social, and life skills.
“We are so proud of our Girl Scouts troop for being a safe space for girls of all abilities to grow and have fun together,” says Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC of Staten Island. “We hope you’ll support our hardworking Girl Scouts by buying a box of cookies.”
Staten Island Girl Scouts Cookie Sale Events
The troops have two upcoming events where they’ll be selling the cookies in person:
- The JCC of Staten Island, 1466 Manor Rd., on Sunday, March 13, 1-3pm
- P37R, 15 Fairfield St., on Friday, March 18, 12-2pm