Ursuline Academy junior Alex Tedeschi first had the idea to bring a library to Genesis Women’s Shelter when she learned that the facility’s residents had no way to check out books or games.
The library is an app-based system that allows Genesis residents to check out books and entertainment donated by Dallas merchants. The work Tedeschi did setting this up and registering all the books and games on the app has been recognized by the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, who honored her with a Gold Award in October.
The 16-year-old is at her proudest displaying her pink organizational binder, full of photos of her project taking off. There’s her with a power drill, stooping to build a bookshelf for the library. Or a photo of her posing with her brother in front of a car full of donated books.
A small piece of paper covered in signatures from the shelter’s staff reads, “Thank you, Alex! We love our new library.”
Now Tedeschi serves on the organization’s teen board, Students Tackle Abusive Relationships.
“I knew I really wanted to do something big for the Dallas community, because the Dallas community has given me so much,” Tedeschi said of deciding to apply for the Gold Award. “I love doing random community service for organizations, and I really wanted to find a way to dedicate my time to a specific organization.”
She had volunteered before at Annie’s House, the residential part of Genesis, but knew she wanted to do more. To put the library in motion, she reached out to Dallas-based Half Price Books, which donated over 700 books to the cause, and she looked to her family for help. She and her father built the library’s bookshelves by hand.
She laughed as she pointed to a picture of her at work on the shelf. “Yes, I do know what a power drill is,” she said jokingly.
Three other girls on Tedeschi’s seven-member Girl Scout troop have received the Gold Award, and the other three are in the process. The award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, according to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas spokesperson Amanda Duquette, and signifies that the recipient has made a sustainable impact on a community.
“I’m amazed at how proficient they are, and they’ve done it all on their own wit,” Julie Hofmeister, Tedeschi’s troop leader, said. “These are the women that are going to be in charge in not very long. They’ve got their stuff together.”