Service work earns Lansing Girl Scout Korey Ziemkowski two awards

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Ziemkowski (right) and Dave Schurman, a member of Bethel Church, cut the ribbon at the micro pantry at Bethel Church in 2020. (Photo provided)

Prestigious Gold Award and new Pinnacle Award given to the engineer of most of Lansing’s micro pantries

By Quinton R. Arthur

LANSING, Ill. (September 30, 2021) – Korey Ziemkowski, a senior at TF South High School and a Girl Scout, has done service work for her community through her childhood and teen years. This year, she has received the Girl Scout’s Gold Award and the inaugural Pinnacle Award in recognition of her service.

Gold Award

For the past 13 years, Ziemkowski has been involved in Girl Scouts, primarily as a member of local Girl Scout Troop 10092, part of service unit 636. Since kindergarten, Ziemkowski has worked with her troop to do as much good for the community as she could. Her individual efforts earned her the Gold Star, the highest of three awards that can be earned through the program.

Korey Ziemkowski
A kindergarten photo shows “Daisies” Korey Ziemkowski (right) and fellow Girl Scout Kae Rinken. The Daisy is the youngest age group in Girl Scouts. (Photo provided)

The award was last received by a Lansing Girl Scout in the 1980s, according to Colleen Ziemkowski, Korey’s mother. According to Girlscouts.org, the Gold Award is an award given to the “Seniors and Ambassadors” who tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. It accounts for 80 hours of work outside of Girl Scouts.

Korey Ziemkowski said she was surprised to receive the award, since the troop works collaboratively. She received the honor for her work in helping establish a micro pantry at Bethel Church, one of several she has helped create over the past year.

The 24-hour micro pantries are small wooden storage units where individuals in need can anonymously pick items they need, such as food and basic necessities. Donors can also help stock the pantries.

Korey Ziemkowski
Korey Ziemkowski shopping ahead of one of her micro pantry’s openings. (Photo provided)

Colleen Ziemkowski has served as Korey’s scout leader since the 4th grade, after former Scout Leader Jennette Austra stepped down. She says the commitment and selflessness that her daughter displays are evident through actions such as immediately restocking the micro pantries, shopping for pantry supplies late into the night, and always having something to give to someone in need.

“Her passion for community outreach comes from so deep within her heart, that it is hard to put into words how strong and amazing it is,” says Ziemkowski. “Passion is really an understatement of where her heart comes from.”

Pinnacle Award

This year, the Girl Scouts announced a new council award, The Pinnacle Award. It honors Ambassador Girl Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their experience. Qualification for the award includes earning seven leadership points through Girl Scouts and other extracurricular activities.

Vikki Zack, who recommended Korey Ziemkowski for the Pinnacle Award, describes her as a born leader, whose leadership and compassion for humans will lead her to success in any future career.

“Korey is a smart teenager with an old-soul heart. She works hard at school and spends much of her free time helping others,” said Zack. “Her family is a great example of love, heart, helpfulness, compassion, and leadership.”

From left to right: Cody, Colleen, Korey, and Kevin Ziemkowski stand near the micro pantry located at Cornerstone Church shortly after constructing it in late 2020. (Photo provided)

Ziemkowski sees the micro pantries continuing to expand and plans on opening two new ones in the coming year.

When she looks back, Ziemkowski remembers wanting to give up in middle school, when being in Girl Scouts wasn’t viewed as popular. However, she worked past those feelings, and today continues to do tremendous work for her community. She wants others with similar intentions to do the same.

“If you are passionate about something, keep with it,” she said.

Locations of micro pantries in Lansing are Mt. Zion UFL Ministries, located at 2340 177th Street; First United Methodist Church, located at 18420 Burnham Avenue; Bethel Church, located at 3500 Glenwood Lansing Road; Cornerstone Church, located at 3440 178th Street; and a walk-in food pantry Lighthouse Community Church, located at 17500 Lighthouse Lane.

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