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A golden service
Chestatee High senior refurbishes groups library for Girl Scout award
Chestatee High School senior Laura Martin, 19, labels a book Friday inside the library at Challenged Child and Friends in Gainesville. Martin, a member of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, completely reorganized the library as part of her Gold Star Award Project. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Laura Martin may only be a high school student, but she's already left a lasting legacy at Challenged Child and Friends.

For her Girl Scouts Gold Award project, Martin has invested dozens of hours into refurbishing the Gainesville development center's library.

The Gold Award is the top honor that a participant can earn within the Girl Scouts of the United States of America organizatio.

"I wanted to do something that would make a difference for the school," said Martin, a Chestatee High School senior and member of Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia Troop 10812.

For her project, Martin livened up the once brown-walled and disheveled library. The room now features bright yellow walls with a fun, wildlife mural and materials neatly displayed on shelves.

Instead of rummaging through piles, the school's staff and students can easily locate books that have now been organized into categories like nature, shapes and colors.
Martin has made reshelving the books easier by placing a colored sticker on the spine of each book, based on category.

"We don't have a dedicated librarian, so teachers would reshelve the books when they had free time," said David Earnest, Challenged Child executive director.

"This will make things much simpler."

Challenged Child staff say that Martin's project is very timely.

"We've been talking about organizing and updating the library for a while, but we couldn't dedicate staff time to doing it," Earnest said.

"We would've ultimately had to bring in (an outside party) to get it done."

Martin didn't just organize what was already there, she also collected book and material donations to help bolster the library's inventory.

She also solicited the help of her school's drama department to make audio books for the center that provides educational and therapeutic services for children with and without disabilities.

Although she's nearing the 80-hour minimum, service commitment that is required to receive her Gold Award, Martin says she still has lots to do, but she's not complaining.

"I knew it would be a lot of work," Martin said.

"But this is something that I really wanted to do. I wanted to do something to help."

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