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Jun 24, 2011

LaPorte Kids Benefit from Scout Project

gruener2Emily Gruener, the 17-year-old daughter of St. Luke’s Health System’s Vice President David Gruener, put her love of reading and passion for promoting literacy to good use for the children of LaPorte recently.


For her Girl Scout Gold Award application, Gruener gathered donations of books and designed a reading room for the after school program at St. John’s, LaPorte.


“Reading has been the key to spurring my imagination and has helped me throughout my education,” said the UT freshman.


“Knowing that [St. Luke’s Health Charities] funds a number of programs to help at-risk children, I called Gail Bray to get a few referrals for Emily,” David Gruener said. The Charities recommended several organizations; among them St. John’s after school program. The reading room project will benefit 100 at-risk children in a vulnerable area, explained Bray, executive director of The Charities.


“Coupled with mentoring, tutoring, music and sign language classes, the Reading Room advances our shared mission to aid children in becoming productive members of the community,” Bray said.


The Gruener family built the Reading Room over a weekend this spring and the children were thrilled with the new addition. “The kids made a beeline to the room and grabbed the books. Some were so enthralled that they didn’t even want to go outside to play,” said St. John’s Program Director Kathy Buskirk.


The Girls Scout Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting. It symbolizes outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service, career planning and personal development.


“I look forward to following Emily’s future, in addition to her outstanding work with the Girl Scouts, she was just recently awarded one of the inaugural 40 Acres Scholars scholarships at UT Austin,” Bray said.