2011 Gold Award Recipient—Alyssa Rollando

Posted: Apr 15, 2011

Alyssa Rollando’s perspective has been changed by Crohn’s Disease, and now she’s out to change yours.  The Awatukee native is also a Girl Scout.  On March 26, Rollando will receive the Girl Scout Gold Award for her efforts to educate people all over the Valley about the misunderstood disease.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout age 14-18 may earn. The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into "going for the Gold." The project is something that fulfills a need within a girl's community (whether local or global), creates change, and hopefully, is something that becomes ongoing.
Rollando, who was diagnosed the Crohn’s Diesease as sophmore in high school, said her goal was to share the facts about the disease and to encourage people to talk about it.

“Most of my friends and family had never heard of the disorder,” she said. “My goal was not to educate them entirely, but to prepare them for future encounters with Crohn's patients. Hopefully they will continue the discussion and recognize it is not as scary as it sounds.”

Rollando started in Girl Scouts in first grade because it was offered at her elementary school and her mom participated when she was young.  She’s been an active Girl Scout for 13 years.  “I continued because I loved the service.  When I realized that the Star awards were available to older scouts, I wanted to pursue them.”
For her Gold Award project, Rollando’s goal was to reach as many people as possible with basic infromation about the disease, including treatment and symptoms.  She collected information, wrote several powerpoints, and spoke to audiences of both youth and adults. “My primary focus was with youth, however, many adults sat in my presentations as well,” she said. “I also encouraged students to volunteer with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.”

Rollando was also awarded the 2009 Young Woman of Distinction Award in the World of Learning category as part of the Girl Scout World Awards.  She has also received the Bronze and Silver Awards from Girl Scouts.

Rollando is also a competitive swimmer, but her passion for community service doesn’t stop when she gets in the water.  She is also the founder of Suits for Scouts, a service project that collects new and gently used swim suits for underprivileged girls.  “I was a counselor at Camp Twilight for three years and realized many of the young girls did not have the resources for proper swimming attire, so I reached out to the Arizona swimming community to help fill that void.” 

Rollando grew up in Awatukee with her mother, Robin, and brother, Anthony.  Her father, Mike, lives in Texas. Rollando attended Xavier College Preparatory, and is now a college freshman at Bucknell University in Lewisberg, Pennsylvania.  She’s studying biomedical engineering and wants to use her skills as an engineer to help others.

Rollando’s motto is “What matters most is not life or death, but now,” and she credits her mother for her inspiration. “She gave me every opportunity imaginable. Rather than be frustrated with obstacles, she is able to overcome many of life's difficulties.”

Rollando will be awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award on March 26, 2011 at the Heard Museum.