Early Literacy

Interview with Girl Scout Ashley Soliwoda

As a member of ALSC’S Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, I have had the opportunity to connect with Ashley Soliwoda, a Girl Scout who is currently working on her Gold Award project. I am so impressed with the wonderful work Ashley is doing in her community and hope you will enjoy reading about her in the interview below. 

How long have you been a Girl Scout? What do you like best about being a Girl Scout?

I’ve been a Girl Scout for a little over 13 years. It’s crazy how much time has flown. If you asked me this question when I was just starting, I would probably say my favorite part of Girl Scouts were the meetings, so I could hang out with my friends and eat snacks that my mom didn’t keep in the house. Now, I have a completely different understanding of the purpose and importance of Girl Scouts. My favorite part has to be making a difference in the community. Even if it’s just a few families that are benefiting from the work we do, there is nothing better than the feeling you receive from helping others.

Can you describe your plans for your Gold Project? How did you decide on this topic?

The goal of my Gold Award project is to provide information to parents or guardians on the importance of reading to their children. By setting up book swaps at preschools, doctor’s offices, and daycare centers, I am providing families with the necessary resources to effectively develop their child’s language. This project stemmed from the way I was brought up. My mother read to me every night and soon when I was able to read, I read everything I could to her. In today’s day and age, most parents are handing their child a tablet or a smartphone to stimulate them. This is not the most beneficial way to encourage language, so I thought why not inform the public for my project.

It’s wonderful that you’re incorporating ALSC’s Babies Need Words Every Day campaign into your project. How did you hear about it?

I heard about Babies Need Words Every Day after reaching out to the local library for more information regarding my project. They thought it would be beneficial to contact the ALSC because there was a country-wide project that had similarities to what I was trying to do. 

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book right now is The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. If you asked me this when I was younger, it would have been The Baby Blue Cat and the Whole Batch of Cookies by Ainslie Pryor.

What do you want to do once you finish school? 

After I finish high school and my Gold Award is finally complete, I will hopefully be going to the college of my choice to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering. In a way, this major relates to my time in Girl Scouts, because through my troop, I spent my life helping others and trying to make a difference. It’s only reasonable that I would want to continue that by going into the medical field.


Stephanie Saba is a Senior Librarian at the San Mateo County Libraries in California and has been a member of ALSC’S Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee since 2013. She was a Girl Scout for nine years and still supports the organization by buying cookies from her neighborhood Girl Scouts every year. 

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