Black History Month: Queens mom creates Girl Scouts troop for homeless girls

Adam Warner
January 28, 2019 - 1:51 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A single Queens mother who found herself in a homeless shelter with five children took her situation as a starting point to create something greater for her own daughters and other homeless girls in New York City.

Two years ago, Giselle Burgess started Girl Scout Troop 6000, the first troop for homeless girls in New York City history.

“It was very discouraging for me in the beginning,” Burgess said. “When we started, we had, I believe eight girls, with my three daughters included.”

Burgess persevered and her equally enterprising daughters recruited girls from throughout the shelter. The troop continued to grow at each week’s meeting.

“We went all the way up to 31 girls in that one hotel,” she said. “The girls were rock stars, they were taking it in.”

Giselle Burgess Larry Mullins
1010 WINS

(Pictured above: Giselles and her daughter Karina Cabrera with 1010 WINS anchor Larry Mullins)

The girls received vests and colorful badges, which increased their sense of belonging.

“The girls walked away with swag,” Burgess said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio saw the positive impact scouting had on the girls, and just four months after Burgess started Troop 6000, the city contributed a $1 million donation to fund its expansion over three years.

Burgess continues to be inspired by the success of Girl Scout Troop 6000. She says the impact on the girls has been profound.

“It’s giving them that sense of understanding, what it is to go through something challenging in life, and what it is to turn that into something positive,” she said. “The girls have really started to understand, 'This is just a season in my life.'”