Middle school student earns national attention for disaster relief fundraising efforts
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland Junior, Riley Padget-Cook, was named one of Kansas’ top two youth volunteers of 2019 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and will be honored at the council’s Recognition Breakfast and Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 30. This award celebrates young individuals for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As a State Honoree, Riley will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and a trip to Washington D.C. to be recognized with top honorees from each state.
In 2017, Riley’s attention was drawn to the families affected by Hurricane Irma when her grandfather traveled to Florida in order to assist in restoring electricity. She decided to take action, creating a business selling containers of the popular toy substance “slime” to raise money for disaster relief and others in need of financial assistance.
Emboldened by her grandmother, Riley put her take-action attitude to work buying supplies and making slime. She designed labels, refined her product, began marketing through videos on her grandmother’s Facebook page and quickly gained traction in her community through the digital platform. It became so popular that Riley enlisted the help of her best friend to continue the project and expand their product line with new colors and scents.
To date, Riley has donated more than $2,100 to assist those in need. Most of the funds have gone to aid disaster victims in Florida, while the rest has been used to help those within her community. “I wanted to help,” she said, “so I came up with my slime business and used the money earned to donate for disaster relief.”
Riley’s recognition marks the second year in a row that a Girl Scout has been honored by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Kansas.