Local Scout makes dreams come true for Southern Hancock families

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Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corp. is all about empowering young people to “Change the World”, and New Palestine High School sophomore Zachary Mitchell is making his commitment a reality.

Zachary grew up alongside Dani’s Dreams and now wants to give back by making a lasting impact for families in Hancock County.

“I grew up with Dani’s Dreams and I’ve heard the story of Dani all my life,” Zachary said. “I chose the outdoor lab as my Eagle Scout project because I saw the lab and wanted to help.”

A Hancock County Scout for nine years, Zachary Mitchell has an Eagle Scout project that will benefit Hancock County residents of all ages and bring families together to share the wonder of nature through his “Dreaming Tree Porch” project.

“I talked with Donna (Griffin, Dani’s Dreams president and CEO) and found out what she needed at Dani’s Dreams,” Zachary said. “I saw that the lab needed more work and outside displays, so I decided we could do benches, tables and a patio.”

Zachary has raised about $1,200 of the nearly $1,700 project, including a donation from the American Legion, and hopes to get about $500 from the community to be able to put in a paver porch, benches and display tables in front of the Go Green Center at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center at Zion Lutheran School in New Palestine.

Zachary has spent this year fundraising, including a Pancake Breakfast in June at Zion and hopes to begin construction of the “Dreaming Tree Porch” for Hancock County families later this fall.

“The project will includes a 12 x 25-foot paver patio, two benches and two plexiglass tables for displays of rocks, insects and other interesting information,” Zachary said.

To donate for Zachary’s Eagle Scout Project, email him at noblemit@msn.com or call 861-4915

“I’ve been a Scout ever since first grade,” Zachary said. “It’s been a long journey, but I wanted to stick with it and help the community.”

And his project will have a lasting impact on outdoor education and families throughout Hancock County.

“I’ve learned through this project how to be a strong leader, help others and to teach them how to use tools – tools for life,” Zachary said.

The Go Green Center, funded through a Hancock County Community Foundation Grant in 2012, serves K-8 students in Southern Hancock Schools with STEM and environmental education displays, activities and projects, including fully-functioning solar panels that power the building.

“The porch will be an area for student work/collections to be on display and for parents/grandparents and children to walk, rest and spend time together sharing and learning,” Griffin said.

Griffin added the new tables will allow Dani’s Dreams to bring out displays and hands-on items that would normally be locked inside the building.

“He’s inspired us already,” Griffin said. “We’ve repainted and are currently reorganizing our materials and activities as well as working with teachers to develop lessons to meet their curriculum needs.”

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