The nation's first Girl Scouts troop dedicated to serving homeless girls and women is getting a huge boost.
Girl Scouts Troop 6000 in New York City will expand from about two dozen girls at one shelter to serve at least 500 in approximately 15 shelters across the city.
Girl Scouts of Greater New York will lead the expansion with an investment of more than $1 million over the next three years from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the city's Department of Homeless Services.
Barbara Murphy-Warrington, CEO of Girls Scouts of Greater New York, noted in a statement that the troop benefits both its girl members and the women in shelters who become troop leaders.
“We know Girl Scouting prepares girls to lead and gives them the skills and confidence they need to relentlessly pursue their goals," Murphy-Warrington said. "We also know that adult troop leaders benefit personally and professionally. We can think of no greater calling as an organization than to provide our tried and tested programs to girls and women living in homeless shelters."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the troop for homeless girls, which formed earlier this year, "stole the hearts of New Yorkers and garnered support from people around the country."
"We are proud to expand and support Troop 6000, allowing more young homeless children to participate in a program that is helping them cope and deal with the challenges they face every day," he said in a statement.
The initiative was started by Giselle Burgess, a homeless woman who serves as a community engagement specialist for Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
She began the troop out of a Sleep Inn in Long Island City, Queens, an operating 10-floor hotel that services 100 homeless families. Troop 6000's members range from kindergarten children to high school students, Meridith Maskara, the organization's chief operating officer, told ABC News.