SANTA MONICA—Madison Seifer, a junior at Santa Monica High School, has created a website that aims to bring people with special needs closer to the rest of the community. Seifer has been a Girl Scout for eight years, is a current Ambassador of Troop 8355 and created the project for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project.
The Girl Scout Gold Award Project is a high achievement in Girl Scouting. It aims to inspire high school girls to change the world. This award will be 100 years old in 2016, and it requires that girls spend 80 hours planning and creating a service project. The project consists of seven steps, culminating in the solving of a community problem. Upon completion, there is the potential for scouts to be awarded personal college scholarships. Seifer chose to bridge the gap between the special education community and the general education community as a goal for her project and has been doing it through her new website, Bridging Our Circle of Friends.
Seifer’s idea came about after she realized that many people in her community were unaware of different physical, mental and developmental disabilities. Her uncle, who was a special education teacher at McBride High School and passed away in July, and was an inspiration to her.
The website contains information for people to understand and destigmatize disabilities and the disabled community. Her website provides details about cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, asthma, and autism, among others. Seifer also provides the link to an online quiz in which readers can test their knowledge on “15 Types of Common Disabilities.” Seifer plans to conduct workshops and lectures in which she will allow for the communities to bond and integrate.
In her project’s twitter account, @bridgingourcof, she describes herself as “just a girl with a vision of equality!” and her project as one that is “spreading awareness about different physical and intellectual disabilities.”
Seifer also volunteered at the 2015 Special Olympic Games, which were held in Los Angeles this past August.