AMES - One local Girl Scout’s mission to help others has gone above and beyond in a project that will expand reading opportunities and book availability in the area.
Kephora Harrison, 14, a freshman at Liberty High School, has been working towards her Silver Star award and, in the process, has worked to develop “Little Free Library” locations in Liberty and Ames.
She has been in scouting for six years and loves being able to help people and that passion helps fuel her goals.
“I like how I can help people that need help and Girl Scouts has given me that opportunity,” said Harrison.
To secure a Silver Star, Harrison has had to put in 50 hours of service; in fact, she surpassed that, garnering 53 along the way, completing the “ Think Like an Engineer Journey.”
Harrison is a member of Troop 132401 out of Baytown, where she grew up until her family came to Liberty County, where her mother grew up.
Troop leaders Liz Erwin and Melissa Mc-Bride are excited about all the effort she has put into her project and how she found a need and addressed it. “She has a passion that she wants to fulfill,” said Erwin.
That passion has brought two “ Little Free Library” locations to the community after recently installing one at the Ames City Hall and another at the 7-11 at 2130 Hwy 146 Bypass in Liberty.
The first installation was in the lobby of Ames City Hall, and it looks as if it came straight from the world of Dr. Seuss.
Ames City Secretary Jennifer Purnell was on hand during the installation and was very enthused by the energy of Harrison’s project and the impact it will have on the community.
Purnell also served as Harrison’s mentor on the project and hopes the community will come in and take a book, share a book, and make the little library a valuable tool for the community for years to come.
“ It’s going to mean a great deal because there are a lot of people that come in and out, and a lot of people with children who come in and out. You know the saying, ‘ reading is fundamental,’” said Purnell.
All of the work was done by Harrison, from the planning stages to the installation, even the work on the power tools, to make the library a reality in Ames.
“ That saw, it’s huge, it’s noisy, it’s scary,” Erwin continued, “she just bounced right up there and did it.”
Harrison loves mechanics and robotics and was excited to take such a hands- on role with her project.
“ I learned a lot of measurements because there’s a lot of numbers to remember,” Harrison said with a proud smile.
She also refurbished another library and placed it in a flowerpot stand at the 7-11 location. Carolina Juarez serves the location as manager and was excited to contribute a place for the project.
“ We are excited to have the library here because it will bring a lot to the community,” said Juarez.
The libraries are filled with books Harrison collected during a donation drive. The libraries are part of the worldwide Little Free Library program and the locations can be found alongside over 150,000 more online at littlefreelibrary.org.
Next up for Harrison is the Gold Star, the pinnacle of Girl Scouts, and she has big ideas for her project.
The project will be intensive and take a bit of time, with 100 hours required along the way and she plans on creating community boxes that can be utilized by the less fortunate.
Harrison hopes to provide necessities like healthcare, personal hygiene items, food, water and other valuable items to help those less fortunate.
She hopes to identify locations for those sites in the future with an eye on locations in Baytown, Houston and, of course Liberty.
“ She has done really well, and I am so proud of her and all of her achievements. You know it really takes dedication to get up every Saturday and go work on her project,” said her mother, Tatyana Sanders.
Erwin believes that Harrison’s mission has only just begun and that she will conquer so much more as she completes her next step in the scouting process.
“ She is so brave and so diligent. She’s not scared to take that step forward to do anything she has not done before,” said Erwin.