Weekly Feature



2018-07-05 / Local News

Iroquois graduate honored with Gold Award


Sophie Cramer-Benjamin was recently honored with the Gold Award by the Girl Scouts of Western New York. Cramer-Benjamin worked to help students who struggle with anxiety during lunch time. Sophie Cramer-Benjamin was recently honored with the Gold Award by the Girl Scouts of Western New York. Cramer-Benjamin worked to help students who struggle with anxiety during lunch time. Sophie Cramer-Benjamin of East Aurora as recently awarded the Gold Award by the Girl Scouts of Western New York.

The award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive, and is obtained following a project that benefits the community. As part of her project, Cramer-Benjamin created The Lunch Bunch, which aims to help students with social anxiety during their school lunch period.

For Cramer-Benjamin, the issue came from a personal place. The recent Iroquois High School graduate said she has struggled with social anxiety for most of her life, and remembers how difficult lunch time was for her.

“After talking to other students who had some of the same problems, I decided that I wanted to do something to help current and future middle schoolers,” she said.

As part of the project, Cramer-Benjamin gave a presentation about mental health and created lunch cards inviting other kids to join them at their lunch tables. Cramer-Benjamin said the cards have been a big success.

“From the surveys that I conducted, I found that 39 percent of students had used the lunch cards to invite a student to their table, and 9 percent of students reported having less social anxiety,” she said.

Cramer-Benjamin also created a curriculum and educated teachers as a way to help them foster open discussions about anxiety and mental health with their students in the future.

“By talking to teachers, counselors, and students, I realized that the biggest impact of my project was opening the discussion of mental illness and giving students techniques to help themselves,” Cramer-Benjamin said.

She credits the Girl Scouts with helping her become a “socially and globally aware citizen.”

“The organization has helped my confidence immensely and provided a support system that I will never forget.”

To learn more about the Girl Scouts and the Gold Award, visit www.gswny.org.

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