This Girl Scout is helping serve women experiencing homelessness

By | June 23, 2021

By Kate Veik

Denver Newsroom, Jun 22, 2021 / 18:00 pm
A Catholic teen in Colorado is hoping to earn the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, by serving at a Catholic home for single mothers. 
Since 2019, Ciara Marie Leal has organized countless donation drives for Mary’s Homes of Hope, a Catholic ministry to women who have experienced homelessness, based in a Denver suburb. She also helped design a website for the organization. 
Statistics show that in Colorado, nearly 6% of households with children under the age of 18 are led by a single mother. 
However, Leal’s inspiration for her project was more personal. Her own sister is raising two children as a single mother. 
“I was close with her when I was younger, but once I got older we kind of drifted apart,” Leal said of her sister. “In 2019, she started coming back into my life, and I noticed the struggles that she’s had as a single mother, who doesn’t have any support or resources.”
Years earlier, Leal had done similar work with Catholic Charities of Denver’s Marisol Homes and Gabriel House – ministries for single mothers and young families – to earn her Bronze Award with the Girl Scouts of America. 
She learned about Mary’s Homes of Hope through Lynn Reid, OFS, who previously worked at Marisol Homes and Gabriel House.
Leal held several interviews with Reid, and began organizing donation drives in late 2019 and early 2020. Leal had to suspend her donation drives when the coronavirus pandemic started, but she wanted to find a way to continue spreading the word about Mary’s Homes of Hope’s mission.

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