Allison Hales, from Girl Scout Troop 533, has brought her scouting Gold Award project, “Books-4-Babies,” to the St. Joseph Center Infant Toddler Development Center in Venice.

Part of her “Books-4-Babies” project was reading The Little Engine That Could to toddlers who had never before heard the story.

“I feel that interactive books and toys provide a valuable resource that these children might not otherwise have,” Hales said.

For the project, Hales also collected more than 1,000 children’s books from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Hermosa View School to create an interactive library at the Toddler Development Center.

“Creating a library that will benefit many children for years to come has given me the knowledge that almost anything is possible once you put your mind to it,” she said.

Hales is a junior at Notre Dame Academy and has been in the Girl Scouts since the first grade.

She had received a Silver Award and wanted to get a Gold Award, the highest award bestowed on a Girl Scout.

“Volunteers like Allison are an inspiration to us,” said Maria Alderete, St. Joseph Center coordinator of volunteer services.

“She devoted over 65 hours to this project, which will benefit the infants and toddlers of mothers who are working to obtain self-sufficiency,” Alderete said.

Information, (310) 396-6468, ext. 325.

SCHOOL HELPED CENTER — A West Los Angeles school has received a community support award for its participation in Venice-based St. Joseph Center programs.

Wildwood School received the award from the Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition.

As a member of the coalition, St. Joseph nominated Wildwood for the award “because of the school’s commitment.”

“We rely on Wildwood students and staff, and that time commitment has translated into a significant level of support,” said Alderete.

St. Joseph provides social services for homeless and low-income men, women and children through several programs.

Wildwood ninth- and tenth-graders volunteer for six programs: childcare at the Early Learning Center, front desk work at the Homeless Service Center, serving hot meals at the Bread and Roses CafÈ, distributing donated food and other St. Joseph services.

Freshman and sophomore students spend every school-day morning with their teachers volunteering at St. Joseph.

“It is important for the students to experience things outside of their own perspective and develop an understanding for people who live their lives in a different way,” said Wildwood teacher Megan Trotter, who volunteered with four students at the cafÈ.

The school emphasizes community involvement starting with elementary grades.

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