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Gabriela Prieto, a member of Girl Scout Troop #1989 (Commack), chose St. Johnland Nursing Center as the focus of her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and often involves over one year of planning. Ms. Prieto first had to identify a project and get the approval from the Long Island Girl Scout Council. After approval, she had to seek donations, and publicize her project before the physical work could even begin.

Ms. Prieto chose to plant a beautiful garden in the Head Injury Rehabilitation Unit courtyard at St. Johnland. Her grandfather, Antonio Nunes, was a patient at St. Johnland and she remembers spending time with him outside and his love of gardening. She chose to create a raised bed herb garden so patients, like her grandfather, can receive sensory therapy in an outdoor setting. The garden will be dedicated in memory of Mr. Nunes when it is finished.

Karen Vittoria, Director of Rehabilitation states “The beautiful horticultural project that was recently completed provides physical and psychosocial benefits to our Head Injury patients. They will help maintain the array of plants and flowers while incorporating functional tasks such as environmental awareness, endurance, safety awareness and standing abilities.”

Ms. Prieto will be a senior at Commack High School in the fall. She plans on attending college as a business major with a pre-law school track. She plays on the high school soccer team and has been actively involved in Girl Scouts for over 11 years.

Ms. Prieto is pictured above on the far right, with her cousin, grandmother, and mother.