By Viktoria Ferus

My name is Viktoria Ferus, and I am a Senior Girl Scout and 14 years old. I’m proud to share with you my project for the Silver Award, which is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn. I chose to help Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS), which is located right here on Laurel Avenue. Since 1987, this wonderful organization has been helping the homeless and low-income people in our community by providing resources to become self-sufficient and achieve stability in their lives.

Viktoria Ferus
Courtesy of Viktoria Ferus

LARS was founded by a group of kindhearted people who aim to help their clients by providing basic necessities such as food, money and permanent housing to those who are ready to change their lives. 

I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to help this cause, so for the Silver Award, I decided to put together boxes of necessities that LARS could give to people beginning their new lives. The boxes included basics like shampoo, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and shaving items. We often take these things for granted, but they can have a great impact in someone’s life. Things so simple as hygiene items, or a scented candle or chocolate can give those facing challenging times a sense of comfort.

This is not the first time my family and I have helped LARS. Over the years, we have donated Thanksgiving dinners and participated in Turkey Trots, and we’ve sponsored families during Christmas time.

As I continued my research into LARS, I learned more about the wonderful services the organization provides, like the permanent supportive housing program and the self-sufficiency program. 

The permanent supportive housing program offers a lifeline to people and families who are homeless or have disabilities. LARS provides them with safe housing, which in turn helps them start rebuilding their lives with the help of caring case managers. The self-sufficiency program helps individuals and families build financial independence, and LARS focuses on five key sections: family stability, emotional and physical well-being, employment, financial management, and education and training to help people to achieve their goals. It is obvious to me that this organization provides tools and support to help people succeed.

Through this project, I learned that helping people in need is not just providing them with physical assistance, but also giving them hope and creating a sense of community. I wrote about my Silver Award journey in my blog at, and it has been a great platform to share with others my desire to help this organization. I really hope my journey inspires more people to reach out to LARS and similar organizations in the community to offer financial support or to volunteer.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with LARS and promote the organization’s purpose. As I wrap up my Silver Award project, I’m filled with plenty of hope about the future of LARS and their clients. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with LARS and making an even greater impact in the future. I urge you all to take time and figure out how you can help to strengthen organizations like our own LARS. Together, we can build a better and brighter world for everybody.