Girl Scout Dakota Becker’s Silver Award is in the books.
The Deptford High School freshman donated a homemade mobile book cart to Nemours duPont Pediatrics facility in Deptford for her Silver Award project.
On Nov. 12, Dakota, joined by Nemours duPont Pediatrics officials, unveiled the new cart with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hospital at 1280 Almonesson Road.
From coloring books to novels, the cart holds a range of reading material suited for children in pre-k to around fifth grade.
When 14-year-old Dakota initially came up with the idea, she remembered a time when she was a young patient getting an allergy patch test, which requires the application of several small patches on the patients back. During the test, Dakota was scared and could have used a distraction.
Dakota, who is a big reader herself, hopes the books can help young patients feel better about being at the hospital.
“It feels really good to have it done, to know that I’m helping a place that’s in my town,” Dakota said.
The Silver Award is the second highest award in Girl Scouts, and the highest for a cadette. Before going for silver, Dakota earned her Bronze Award by making homemade cat and dog toys and donating them, along with food, to Angels Community Outreach in Pitman.
To prepare for her Silver Award, Dakota started by collecting books at donation events at area libraries.
The hospital says the book cart adds to its goal of doing whatever it can to make the visit to its hospital as welcoming as possible.
“People get bored all the time at the doctor’s, but when you’re a kid, you’re bored as soon as you walk in the door, so we got to try to make things entertaining,” building manager Tim Duer said.
The hospital will use the books as a form of distraction for children who may feel anxious or lonely in the hospital, or for kids who are waiting for an appointment or procedure. Children in therapy will also use these books during sessions.
Even though the hospital requested a mobile cart on wheels, the cart will stay at a designated spot in the facility. When needed, volunteers at the hospital will push the cart around as part of “Nemours Express” and will read or gift a book to a patient.
A child can read the book during their visit or take the book home if it is a longer read.
“The books really help them focus on something other than waiting to get called back by a doctor,” administrative coordinator LuAnn Gardiner said.
Dakota is in her sixth year with Girl Scouts and is now one step closer to the Gold Award, the highest achievement in the organization.