CAMERON PARK — Laura Parkyn and Natalie Hazelwood have published their first Website, yet they are not old enough to vote.
The Ponderosa High School freshmen are members of Girl Scout troops. Parkyn is in Troop 1789 and Hazelwood is in Troop 1440.
The duo published their Website as part of a scout project. The Website is Childabuse911.net, a public service site on child abuse in El Dorado County.
Their accomplishment has earned the duo Girl Scout’s Silver Award, the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn next to the Gold Award.
Parkyn, 14, created the site and Hazelwood, also 14, produced the public service announcement with a video linked to the home page.
The Silver Award, according to the Girl Scouts’ Website, says it gives a member a “chance to show that you are a leader who is organized, determined and dedicated to improving your community.”
According to the Ponderosa students, once they started their project, they found child abuse statistics were scattered all “over the place.”
“We wanted to make one centralized Website that has different organizations in El Dorado County that help this cause and gives information on this cause,” Parkyn said.
After many discussions with various county and Sacramento region organizations that deal with child abuse, Parkyn and Hazelwood realized that the numbers of child abuse and neglect cases in El Dorado County are greater than in Sacramento County from birth to 17 years old, per 1,000 children.
Displaying a chart on their Website, child abuse and neglect cases in El Dorado County were below 50 percent in 2004 but increased to 65 percent in 2010. Last year it was 60 percent. Compared to Sacramento County, cases were 85 percent in 2004 but dropped to 55 percent last year.
“People should know about this so they can help prevent it,” Parkyn said.
“We were trying to figure out what we should do to help. For me, it was real shocking,” Hazelwood added.
Parkyn and Hazelwood obtained their information for their Website from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, El Dorado County Child Protective Services, Child Abuse Prevention Council, New Morning Youth and Family Services, The Center for Violence-free Relationships, Family Connections and Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home.
According to René Parkyn, Laura’s father, the Website has had 2,759 hits as of Thursday, Nov. 1. The Website has been up for a month.
“Building a Website was pretty hard, especially since I’ve never done it before,” admitted Laura.
When Hazelwood made the video and uploaded it to their Website, the challenging part for her was finding actors and actresses who would be willing to act as abused people.
“It was time consuming putting it together,” Hazelwood said.
Parkyn and Hazelwood estimated putting in 65 to 70 hours on the project. About half that time was spent working together.
After the project was completed, each of the girls’ scout leaders were more than impressed with their work.
“My Girl Scout leader (Angela Nicholson) said it was really cool,” Parkyn said.
Hazelwood, whose leader is Cheryl Floresguerra, added, ”She was really proud.”
Hazelwood noted she wants to spread the word throughout the region through radio and television stations.
Parkyn said nine girls in her troop worked on their Silver Award, with five completing their projects including her. Hazelwood said all three girls in her troop, herself included, completed their projects.
Parkyn has been a member of the Girl Scouts since she was in kindergarten. Hazelwood joined her Girl Scout troop when she was in third grade.
To view the Website visit Childabuse911.net. The video is on the home page.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.