Two Wake County girls have attained the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.
For her Gold Award project, Maria Tsikerdanos, 19, of Wake Forest renovated basement space and created a recreational center at Elsies Place Family Care Home in Raleigh, a residential care home for seniors.
Maria transformed the space by clearing out stored items, painting walls, decorating with artwork and providing appropriate furniture.
The recreation center greatly expanded the common area in the home, allowing expanded leisure activities including BINGO, card games and puzzles.
The increased recreational area now allows for different community groups to visit and interact with residents.
As she worked on her project, Maria educated different groups about Alzheimers and dementia, conditions that affect residents of the home.
Maria is the daughter of John and Jina Tsikerdanos and is a senior at Enloe High School in Raleigh.
She has been in Girl Scouts since 2002 and is a member of Girl Scout Troop 981 led by Cathy Klinc.
For her Gold Award project, Alexandria Hanyok, 17, of Raleigh worked with Bald Head Island Conservancy to create a garden highlighting native plants and the role that they play in conservation.
At presentations, Alexandria answered questions from attendees about the benefits of using native plants and how to care for the garden, which has already survived severe weather.
In addition to designing and planting the garden, Hanyok created a plant information chart, which is displayed in the garden.
The project educates visitors about the dangers of invasive plants, and how they negatively impact the island.
Alexandria also designed and installed an 11-foot driftwood bench in the garden.
Alexandria is the daughter of Tim and Marcella Hanyok and has been in the Girl Scouts since 2003. She is a graduate of Milton Academy in Maine.