Saving Lives Gone Gold

By Kristi Pallack

In October of last year, one of our Girl Scouts had to react fast when another student collapsed during band practice. Erika Yee, then 17, knew just what to do. By using continuous chest compression CPR, she was able to keep Chris alive until paramedics arrived on the scene. Things could have taken a different turn had she not learned this new skill earlier in the year at Girl Scout camp. Stunned that she was the only student out of 100 that knew how to respond in this situation, Erika knew what she had to do.

Erika turned her incredible story into her Girl Scout Gold Award project, working in conjunction with the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center to provide Continuous-Chest-Compression CPR training to over 500 high school students throughout Tucson, with plans to add three more high schools in the coming months. She also produced a short video about her experience, highlighting how easy this technique is to administer in an emergency that has been viewed over 1,000 times already.

“My ultimate goal,” she said, “is to get our school districts to include this training into the health classroom curriculum.” Erika has also secured funding to provide her high school with 2 AED’s, something they don’t have already. “My project is taking strides to help my community understand the importance of being properly trained in CPR so that more lives can be saved annually.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Throughout the process, girls learn time management, develop communication skills, and become true leaders in their community. “I know that I can effectively take charge of a situation that provides the chance to make big decisions,” she said. “I have the power to inspire people with the actions that I have taken.”

Erika, who is a senior at University High School in Tucson and plans to attend the University of Arizona next year, says that she has a “powerful voice in the community and can use it to spread awareness about the issues that our community needs to face.” Erika plans to continue her work with Sarver Heart and train hundreds of students per year. 

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November
11, 2013

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