When Renee Dobrinsky was in Palmer Trinity Middle School, a good friend was diagnosed with lymphoma. That friend’s sister had been her classmate since she was in the first grade. Watching what the family went through and the long hours spent at the hospital helped Dobrinsky decide on what she would do as her Girl Scout Gold Award.
“For my Gold Award I chose something very personal to me,” she says.
Dobrinsky raised money to buy three top-of-the-line touch screen laptops loaded with Microsoft software to be used by the children or the families of the children undergoing cancer treatment at Miami Children’s Hospital. She and her friend Karina Schiappa Pietra, whose brother Anthony beat lymphoma while in high school, worked closely on their Gold Projects, though they worked on individual projects that dovetailed with their commitment to help the children in the hospital.
For her project, Dobrinsky raised $2,000 for the laptops that were to be donated to the hospital for use by cancer patients and their families.
“We worked with the child life specialists,” Dobrinsky says. “We had the intention of helping both kids that miss school and do homework and parents who miss work to keep up with the work while their child is in treatments.”
Dobrinsky held a garage sale to raise money for the laptops.
“I got everyone in my community to donate,” she says. “I had a massive amount to sell. I was able to get people that I know to fund my project with donations.”
The laptop project took two years to go from idea to completion.
“I’ve spoken with the child life specialists. She says they are constantly being checked out,” Dobrinsky says. “They are being used by the kids and the adults and they are a huge success.”
At Palmer, Dobrinsky is a volunteer at the school’s writing center.
“I love writing, I like creative writing,” she says.
She is in the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the French Honor Society and the Ecology Club.
“We installed an electronic recycling program, water refilling stations, and an expomarker recycling program to help encourage art classes to turn “garbage” into art,” she says.
She is also a member of Out of the Darkness, a club that raises awareness about suicide and fosters suicide prevention.
Dobrinsky’s penchant for helping others – including animals — led her to be the co-founder of the Second Chance Club. “We’re the only animal club at Palmer and we work with various animal groups,” she says.
Dobrinsky is a peer counselor helping younger students if they have problems.
“We work with the sixth graders on the proper way to email your teacher,’ she says. “There was a problem with sixth graders being disrespectful, so they brought in peer counselors to talk to groups of sixth graders”
Dobrinsky also works with the Big Brother and Big Sister program as a big sister, and over the summer she volunteered at the Children’s Home Society.
“For my birthday I asked for money donations and used the money to buy toys for the children,” Dobrinsky says. “It was one of the best and hardest things I’ve ever done.”
Dobrinsky has been nominated for a Silver Knight in the Science category.