SAN ANTONIO - This year, 35 young women earned the highest honor given by the Girl Scouts, the Gold Award. One of them is local Girl Scout Kayla Goodman, who came up with an idea for the neonatal intensive care unit.
Goodman said she was only 3 pounds when she was born premature at 31 weeks.
"Being born premature can come with a lot of difficulties, like hearing and learning disabilities," Goodman said. "So I wanted to give back to the community that helped me."
Goodman, who has been a Girl Scout for the last 13 years, created a unique Gold Award project that would help the development of preemies in the NICU.
Goodman designed 30 kits for the preemies at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio. Each kit has a recording device for the parents to talk, read, sing or pray to their babies.
The recordings are played back in the incubator to simulate the sounds of a mother's womb.
Goodman said she developed her project around a Harvard University study that researched the effect of premature birth on hearing and learning disabilities.
"They play them back in the incubators at lower frequencies," Goodman said. "This is supposed to help the preemies in a very critical stage in their development."
Goodman is now being honored with the highest achievement in Girl Scouting for the completion of the project, which took a lot of planning and fundraising and more than 80 hours of volunteer work.
She's hoping now that her project will continue to make a difference.
"San Antonio has one of the worst premature birth rates in the country," Goodman said. "I think my project might inspire others to develop research in that area for that issue and hopefully make a change."
Goodman will be graduating from Brandeis High School next month and will be going to the University of Texas at Austin to study chemistry in the fall. She said she plans to continue her community service beyond high school and college.
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