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16 May 2014

WASHINGTON, DC--When members of Girl Scout Troop 3579 from Ronald Mc Nair Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland heard about the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan, they wanted to do something to help. What started out as an effort to help a troop member's relatives in Tacloban became a troop mission to reach out to families they did not even know.

Two members of our troop are Filipino—Amanda and myself. We initially thought of just helping her family, but eventually, it became a troop mission to do what we can to help out those who have lost not only their homes, but also loved ones,” said Hailey Sebastian.

Through various activities, the troop raised awareness of the Philippines and the deadly typhoon that hit the country in November last year.

During our service unit's Thinking Day, we represented the Philippines. We had special food and made a poster board on the schools there. During our service unit's last encampment, we chose the Philippines again. We brought a sign, made a Philippine flag, and talked about the typhoon and helping the affected people,” said Katarina Endom.

The girl scouts also conducted fundraising activities throughout the school year.

We had our Fall Fundraiser where we sold candies to earn money. We did our famous girl scout cookie booth. We sold many boxes of cookies to earn money. Our biggest fundraiser was a basket making workshop and bake sale our troop put on. All our fundraisers were fun,” said Endom.

She added, “With all our efforts, we raised an astounding $500 to go towards hurricane relief. We also created much awareness among people who will help out even more. We worked hard and tried our best, but we couldn't have done it without our troop leader, Ms. Endom and our parents who volunteer all the time.”

For Sebastian, having the Philippines as the center of the troop's activities is personal.

I am a first-generation Filipino-American and I want to learn more about the culture and the people, apart from what my parents have taught me. They are proud of where they came from, which they have always shared with us children. I hope to know and learn more,” said Sebastian.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia extended his gratitude to the members of Troop 3579 and commended the members, their parents, and their troop leader for the hard work that they have done.

On behalf of the government and the people of the Philippines, I would like to thank you for what you have done to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. What you have done—going out of your way to help people you don't even know—is indeed commendable. I would also like to commend your parents and troop leader for the good job they have done instilling in you values that are important in the youth today,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

Please extend my gratitude to your fellow troop members who also worked hard to raise funds,” Ambassador Cuisia added.

The troop turned over $500 to the Embassy, which then turned over the funds to the US Philippines Society. The donation will go to Typhoon Haiyan relief and recovery efforts targeting children in the Philippines.

Girl Scout Troop 3579 is composed of Tara Ahmad, Emily Bui, Emma Carrai, Amanda Catipon, Alexis Cheng, Kaylee Dembroski, Summer Doleman, Katarina Endom, Vivian Li, Hailey Sebastian, and Christina Sinor, with their troop leader Ileana Endom. The girls were accompanied to the Embassy by Harold Sebastian, May Sebastian, and Angelita Sinor. ###

16 May 2014

Troop mission. "It became a troop mission to do what we can to help out those who have lost not only their homes, but also loved ones," said first-generation Filipino-American Hailey Sebastian. (Embassy Photo by Majalya Fernando)


16 May 2014

Raising funds. The girl scouts raised funds through various activities such as bake sales, a basket making workshop, and selling bracelets. (Embassy Photo by Majalya Fernando)


16 May 2014

Never too young to make a difference. Some members of Girl Scout Troop 3579 met with Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. at the Embassy. In the photo from left to right are 5th graders from Robert McNair Elementary School in Germantown, MD: Katarina Endom, Emily Bui, Kaylee Dembroski, Summer Doleman, and Hailey Sebastian. (Embassy Photo by Majalya Fernando)

Troop 3579. The complete troop on their camping trip this year. (Photo courtesy of Ileana Endom)