By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
Katie Miley is a senior at Spruce Creek high school in Port Orange but she isn't your average student.
She is in the International Baccalaureate program, president of the Chess Club, secretary of the Psychology Club and a member of the National Honors Society.
But Katie also is a Girl Scout, which has taught her valuable life lessons and driven her passion to help others.
"I love helping people. The Scouts is one of greatest things that I have done. It has taught me leadership, to give back to the community and compassion. It has also helped me understand where people have important needs. As for being a high school student, I am never really bothered by peer pressure," Katie said.
To earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, Katie went above and beyond helping others by painting and redecorating a room at the Women Assisting Recovering Mothers (WARM) Program at 129 Michigan Ave. in Daytona Beach.
"The Gold Award is the highest honor that a Girl Scout can have and equal to the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout," Katie said. "With this project, I knew that I would get to help mothers in terrible situations. When I first saw the room, it was barren and uncomfortable. I was moved to make it better. The room is critical for the mothers to establish that important relationship with their children."
"Katie Miley is an awesome and amazing young woman," said Alicia Vincent, WARM Program Director. "She approached us and after a tour she felt compelled to dedicate her time and services to makeover that room for the parents and children. She recruited a team to assist her in redecorating the room with books, chairs, a rocking chair, CD player, CDs, toys, play mats and more."
WARM is a service of Stewart Marchman-ACT Behavioral Healthcare and is designed to assist women suffering from addiction and mental health issues. The program has 18 women with their children and the waiting list to get in is 30 days.
"We have a residential facility for pregnant and postpartum women with substance abuse and mental health diagnosis. They live here with their children until the kids are six years old. Then they move and visit on the weekends. The program helps with therapeutic needs through counselors and groups. We also work with them on parenting and self sufficiency," Ms. Vincent said.
Programs such as WARM are critical with the current drug addiction issues in today's society.
"The goal is to deliver drug free and healthy babies weighing five pounds or more. There is a critical need with the current opium crises," Ms. Vincent said. "We see more and more addicted to pain medication which affects their pregnancy. The program helps both the women and the children."
To help paint the room, Katie did a bake sale which raised more than $300.
"People basically donated items. They even baked goods and dropped them off to me," Katie said. "Many were excited to assist when they knew that I was helping others."
While completing the project, Katie had a heart-warming experience she will never forget.
"We kept everyone out during painting due to the fumes. When I was finishing this little girl walked by. She was staring and smiling from ear to ear. I knew at that moment that I did the right thing. It was priceless," Katie said.
After high school, Katie will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and study space physics.
The WARM program can still use donations to better provide its services.
"We always need diapers and wipes of all sizes. We accept donations of new bottles, plastic, both four and eight ounces. We can also use cribs, toddler beds, strollers or anything along those lines," Ms. Vincent said.
For donations, call (386) 236-1732.