Madelaine Bradley, a first-year student at Guilford College and a Sandhills PRIDE Student Scholarship winner, has built a newly available niche of LGBTQ-themed books at her alma mater, Pinecrest High School. At month’s end, she will submit the project for a Girl Scout Gold Award, the top honor a Girl Scout may earn.
Madelaine — “Maddy” — organized the Resource Center at the Pinecrest High School Media Center with the support of media specialist Deshan Ross.
The center, which opened this week, contains both young adult fiction and nonfiction, ranging from anthologies, coming-of-age works, and science fiction to biographies. Bradley hopes the collection promotes reading in general, gives LGBTQ students “a safe space (to) see themselves in literature,” and allows others to become educated about the LGBTQ community.
Says Bradley, “I want people to educate themselves about the LGBT community. I also want the LGBT community to see themselves in the books they read.”
The new LGBT Resource Center sits between the fiction and nonfiction sections of the Pinecrest High School Media Center and will be available to students and staff during regular media center hours.
To include books appropriate for high school students, Bradley worked with Sandhills PRIDE, her local Girl Scout council – Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, Pinecrest Principal Stefanie Phillips, Media Specialist Ross and the school’s Spectrum/Gay Straight Alliance.
She also surveyed books already in the library and asked fellow students what works they would like to see in the collection. She found that a large number of students surveyed already had read LGBTQ-themed books and were eager to read more.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award that Girl Scouts may earn. Fewer than 6 percent do so annually, after working one or two full years on their projects to make a difference in their communities, both locally and globally. Approximately 1 million Girl Scouts have earned the award or its equivalent since 1916, according to the Girl Scout organization.
The award has been compared to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout designation but is, according to the Girl Scout organization, more difficult to earn. Madelaine has been a member of the worldwide organization for 10 years.
Sandhills PRIDE, a support network and educational advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Sandhills, provided $2,000 to buy the 55 books requested by Bradley. Bradley has developed a list of 50 more books to be included in the future with remaining funds.
Sandhills PRIDE works to unite, celebrate, and serve LGBTQ people, their allies, and sister organizations by providing social engagement, service, education, and leadership in the Sandhills region of North Carolina.
Sandhills PRIDE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pinehurst. It relies on donations to finance scholarships and activities. To donate to Sandhills PRIDE, visit https://www.sandhillspride.org/donate-sandhills-pride/.
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Courtesy photo: L,R: Madelaine Bradley and Deshan Ross.