The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouts. It’s an honor that takes a lot of hard work, time and dedication. So when it came time to earn hers, Saba Shahid knew she wanted to make a big impact on others.
“Art in many different forms just provides such a great outlet,” she explained.
So in 2009, Shahid created an art therapy program for pediatric patients at Bridgeport Hospital, now affiliated with Yale New Haven Health.
“It definitely feels very amazing to come back here you know almost after 10 years and see that the artwork is still in place,” Shahid said.
Her project involved three components. First, creating a “find me” wall for children to spot items and be engaged while getting treatment.
“Making it easier for the child, making the child feel more comfortable, as well as making it easier for the provider,” Shahid explained.
Second, she installed painted ceiling tiles in treatment rooms.
“They, you know, ultimately felt better and felt more comfortable being in a place that isn’t so comfortable,” she said.
And the third component was creating an art cart filled with supplies that young patients could use.
“I know over the years it’s really evolved and it’s now available to whoever wants to go in and use them um whether it be the pediatric unit, the psych unit,” Shahid said.
But her project didn’t end there. She eventually turned it into an organization called The Art Cart, which works with those with neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, to help heal through art.
“It shows that it’s giving them hope again,” Shahid said. “It’s giving them courage. It’s giving them physical and mental stimulation.”
It’s helping to change lives and bring joy to so many lives.
“I really truly feel that a lot of the confidence, the character I have now and the woman I’ve become today is credited to Girl Scouting,” Shahid said.
To learn more about the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, visit GSofCT.org.