Nicole's Take Action Project brought together elementary school students who were struggling in reading with a patient, kind, and nonjudgmental listener -- a dog named Hoss. This positive, encouraging (and fun) environment helped these students improve their reading scores by up to 50%.
Nicole has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, and has gone from attending programs and events to organizing several for her sister Girl Scouts. She has earned her Bronze and Silver Awards.
Nicole will graduate from Spanish Fort High School. She plans on attending Auburn University to study Microbiology, and then on to veterinary school, with the ultimate goal of opening her own small animal clinic. Her proud parents are John and Vicki Nobles of Daphne.
How did you come up with your idea?
I am very passionate
about reading and animals so I wanted to come up with a creative way to combine
the two. I came up with the idea to start this reading program after a great
deal of research on illiteracy in our area. I also began to realize that even
students in my classes had problems reading out loud because they were
uncomfortable. I decided that making a reading program for elementary school
students would be the most beneficial way to encourage students and improve
their reading abilities while they are still impressionable.
Were you intimidated
by the scale of the project? was initially
intimidated by this project, but as I began I realized that the people I was
working with would help through all of the challenges.
How did you
keep up the momentum for the project? I kept the momentum by getting new people involved with my project and
teaching others about the mission of my project.
Were you ever
discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that? I was not really
discouraged through the project, but just challenged.
Can you tell us a
little story about some part of your project that was special to you?
The best part of my project was seeing the kids' faces each week when
they found out that Hoss was there. Each week they would run down the hallways
to see who could get to him first. The first graders were also extremely funny
because they would always rush to see who could say "The End" first when they
finished their stories. All of the kids were so cute and smart; I had so much
fun with them each week.
How will people
benefit from this? The students will
benefit because their confidence will be boosted and their reading abilities
will be improved. Their increased confidence in their reading abilities will
also help them succeed in their other subjects in school.
How did you feel after
you finished? After I finished my project I felt very accomplished, because I had
created a program that will be sustained in SFES and is spreading around the
county. I am also exhilarated that this project has helped the students so much
and will continue to help other students.
What advice would you
give to other girls considering a Gold? I would suggest that they begin thinking about it early and make sure
that they work on something they are passionate about. If you are not
passionate about this project it will not be as successful and it will not mean
as much to you. It is also important that you find people to work with that are
also passionate about your project because that will also ensure that your
project is successful and long lasting.
Your Gold Project made
a change for the better in your community. Did it change you? If
so, how? This project did change me, not only did it teach me how to stick with a
project this big, but the kids also taught me how to be happy with the little
things in life. The students each week had a new story to tell and something
they had to share with Hoss. This taught me that sometimes the most important
things in life are the small, everyday activities that go unrecognized.