Zoe Mazakas

Zoe Mazakas, left, and her friend, Jaclyn Haas, at the beach.

Robert F. Kennedy said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”

A local teen recently worked to make things better in Long Beach. Zoe Mazakas spent this past summer serving the community and promoting “Gold Standard” living. She devoted dozens of hours to volunteering and uplifting others.

Zoe’s quest was the Gold Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Girl Scouts. She joined the group in second grade. Many girls do not complete the entire scouting journey, but Zoe said she stayed with the organization because “I just kept having so much fun at meetings.”

According to her troop leader, Marisol Romeyn, Zoe’s Girl Scout career was marked by this love for meetings, which she never missed. Romeyn said Zoe would get especially excited for the February gatherings, when the troop would write and decorate Valentine’s Day cards for Meals on Wheels recipients.

“I love community service,” Zoe said. “I would never pass up the opportunity to combine volunteer work with the company of my friends, and Girl Scouts is the perfect outlet for both.”

Now a high school senior, Zoe is a three-sport varsity athlete. Despite the tremendous time commitment required to practice and play volleyball, basketball and lacrosse, Zoe completed the prerequisite Bronze and Silver Awards before planning the scope of her ambitious Gold Award project. Girl Scout standards require 80 hours of work; Zoe exceeded this, spending 94 hours on Gold Award efforts.

Her project was three-pronged, with all three components designed to promote a Gold Standard in the community. Two of the prongs were focused on children.

“Zoe loves kids, so she built her project around kids,” her mother, Tasha Mazakas, said.

In the cancer center at Miller Children’s Hospital, Zoe helped youngsters think about being their own Gold Standard while fighting for their health. She created and donated 200 crafts to the hospital to emphasize this message in an engaging way. At Kidworks, Zoe’s former preschool, she presented a similar message, along with super hero capes and crafts and lesson plans for implementing them.

Zoe sought to involve both adults and children in the third area of her work, the Beach Cleanup. She announced the event on social media platforms and invited family and friends to join in her efforts. After arriving with posters, gloves, and bags, she said she was surprised and thrilled by the number of strangers who unexpectedly joined the Cleanup.

“When random strangers began walking up and asking to help, I was so happy,” Zoe said. “This taught me that people are always willing to help, and providing them with an outlet to do so was extremely meaningful to me.”

Zoe said she is grateful for the time management and communication skills she gained from her service project. She acknowledged that the task was not easy, but said she learned that “in life, we must be our biggest motivators and create a set of priorities in order to achieve our goals.”

The hard-working high-schooler is currently applying to colleges. She said she hopes to use the knowledge and experience she has gained in Girl Scouts as she tackles tasks in the future.

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