Girl Scouts give back to Bethel Village

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PANAMA CITY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - The local Girl Scouts made over a part of the Panama City Rescue Mission's Bethel Village shelter for women. But what they're learning is worth more than any merit badge.

"This is where my bed will go, and then my roommate's bed goes here," Justice Cottrell said, giving a tour of her room in progress.

She's a resident at Bethel Village, a community of women focused on new beginnings. And what's a new beginning without a makeover?

"It's pink," she said of the newly painted walls. "But I'm pretty girly so it works out well."

While the handy men, or women in this case, can barely reach the ceiling, these 11 and 12-year old Girl Scouts are learning about reaching heights they can't see.

"I think it just teaches them different skills on giving back to the community," troop leader Kristin Coreil said. "It's actually very touching."

"I wanted polka dots," her daughter Kendall said.

For their Bronze award, Troop 647 from Patronis Elementary school helped to plan and carry out the makeover of one of the bedrooms - Girl Scouts Edition.

"I hope they'll like it and just feel more like they're at home," Kendall said.

For this troop, the personal touch is in more than just the furnishings.

"My mother actually went through this program," Kristin Coreil said. "Coming and visiting we saw that all the rooms were done except the one. So I brought it to our team bronze leader and brought to the girls. And what girl doesn't wanna come decorate a room?"

The girls helped wash the walls, paint them, painted furniture and began making decorations with inspirational quotes and sayings.

"Well we are making canvasses to hang in their walls. And I chose Proverbs because it talks about a lot of women and Bible verses that come from women. 'She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future,'" she quoted. "It's like empowering them."

A local company donated new flooring and another donated the bedding. All other additions the troop bought using money raised from cookie sales.

"That part of the girl scouts, empowering women, was really important to us," troop mom Sarah Risalvato said. "It's not about selling a box of cookies or coming to a meeting. It's about making an impact and change for something that is bigger than you. so to see the girls finally get that in this level is more important than any pin or anything but that growth of wow I can do and make an impact has been really neat to see."

"It's a blessing. It makes it more at home," Cottrell said. "I don't regret coming here at all."