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Extraordinary Girl – Jessica Jade Smith

Jessie, a ninth grader and cheerleader, already understands the importance of being involved in the community and being a good role model. “It’s important to do projects that benefit the community you live in because it helps you gain leadership skills,” she says. A big sister to Joslyn and Jani, Jessie has been a Girl Scout for eight years. She also is an usher at her church, sings in the church choir and performs with the Barbara Foster Dance Team.

What makes you happy?

My family and friends make me happy. I love spending time with all of them — my sister, mom, dad, my aunt Jessica, uncle Roger and my two cousins Jalyn and Jordan.

Who is your biggest inspiration or role model?

I have so many special people in my life that I look up to. But I would have to say my mom because she helps me and others all the time. On Dec. 1, 2010, I had to have scoliosis surgery to repair the curve in my back, which left me with two rods and 22 screws in my back. My mom missed almost two months from work without pay to care for me.

My mom does so much to help others from being my Girl Scout leader, a leader in our community, and a volunteer in our church as well as working with youth, the GFWC East Tampa Juniors, the Junior League of Tampa, the Making Strides for Breast Cancer charity and serving in leadership roles with her local union. From a young age, she taught me how to give back and help other less fortunate than us.

What advice do you have for girls your age?

Stay true to yourself and always be kind to everyone around you. Surround yourself with positive influences. You need to be around friends and family members who encourage and support you not push you down. Your true friends will like you for who you are.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I would like to go to FAMU and become a veterinarian. I love working with animals, and I want to help them.

What is your favorite way to relax?

I love Sunday fun day. Every Sunday after church we have family time and each of us has the chance to plan a fun time for the entire family. I love to travel with my family. We enjoy being together and trying new things. I also like hanging out with my friends, skating, camping, going to the movies and listening to music.

What does Girl Scouts mean to you?

Girl Scouts means doing good things for other people while having fun with your friends and other girl scouts. Girl Scouts taught me to believe in myself and helped me to build the confidence and abilities I have now in my teenage years.

What is your favorite experience?

It’s camping at Camp Wildwood. I love to ride horses, cook meals with my friends and build camp fires.

What message do you want to share with other girls and families?

Always be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it. Be yourself!

Tell us about your community projects.

My Girl Scout troop has done a lot of community projects. We have helped out the church where we have our meetings by providing food for a program called pack a sack, which puts nutritious snacks in kids’ backpacks that don’t have access to good foods and for the kids that go to school hungry.

We have helped clean up Lowry Park and planted flowers with some Daisy troops in our service unit. We’ve picked up garbage around the park. We just recently did a planting project to help put new trees and flowers in the ground. At Christmastime, we also collected gently used blankets and jackets to hand out to the homeless in Tampa. We’ve also served dinner at a local soup kitchen during the holidays.

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