BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A Baldwinsville Girl Scout has made an impactful change at her local high school and community through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, helping to improve student’s mental health.

Emma Mantione, a Girl Scout of NYPENN Pathways (GSNYPENN) Council alum of Troop 10134 in Baldwinsville, completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Music Book Library at Charles W. Baker High School.

Mantione had the idea come to her from her affinity for music books with the benefits music has on youth mental health.

“Through my research, I discovered that music has many benefits for students. Whether playing an instrument or singing, it aids brain development, enhances learning and recall, helps with mathematics and literacy, and reduces stress and anxiety,” Mantione said.

According to GSNYPENN, Mantione had accumulated many music books over the years and learned that donated music books weren’t worth much in her area library, but were at her high school.

Upon further research, Mantione realized that not only would this be a beneficial donation to the school but to its student’s, as during the pandemic, she learned 20-30 percent of members in local music ensembles had stopped taking part, or dropped out.

She also found through her research that students experienced an increase in anxiety and depression due to the pandemic. Therefore, she thought if students could get back to music or start for the first time, it could lead to an increase in ensemble participation as well as benefit their mental health and improve brain function.

That’s when Mantione started collecting music book donations during school concerts, community events and posted flyers locally to help with her book drive.

As part of her project, she also developed a spreadsheet that includes the list of books in the library to use for lending and replacement purposes.

Emma Mantione in front of her Music Book Library. Courtesy of GSNYPENN.

For her work that she spent on the Music Book Library, GSNYPENN awarded Mantione her first Girl Scout Gold Award — which is the highest and most prestigious award that Seniors and Ambassadors can earn — for being a leader in her community and making a difference.

Mantione graduated from Baker High School in June and is currently a freshman at Keuka College, where she plays field hockey and studies elementary education. 

“Her vision and Gold Award project will continue with help from her high school’s Key Club (to continue collecting music books) and Honors Orchestra (to maintain the library),” stated GSNYPENN.