“There were a number of things I could have done, but I wanted to do all those things here,” said Edwards, 16, a Chaminade High School junior and softball player who has done after-school tutoring at Guadalupe Center. “I just like how the center helps people no matter who they are.”Guadalupe Community Center, a non-profit, non-sectarian social service agency, provides over 2,000 people a month with free groceries from its food pantry and serves a combined total of 25,000 people annually with its programs and services.The center’s community outreach worker, Charles Nava “Skip” Wrightson, was thrilled when Edwards agreed to take on the task of cleaning out three storage sheds on the property and Labrecque proposed directing an on-site production of Peter Pan this summer featuring children ages 6-11.Although Boy Scouts have built benches at Guadalupe Community Center for Eagle Scout projects, this is the first time that Girl Scouts have applied to do their 65-plus hour Gold Award project at the facility. “It really means a lot to us,” said Wrightson, who noted that the shed clean-up project has been an elusive long-term goal.“We just didn’t have the staff to do it,” said Wrightson. As for Labrecque’s play proposal for the center’s young children, Wrightson said response from parents and their children has been overwhelming. “There’s energy and enthusiasm [because] of new things happening with our kids,” he noted.Labor intensiveEdwards’ clearing and organization of the sheds taking place during the recent summer heat wave has amounted to 192 hours of work so far, utilizing 22 volunteers over four days. She still has to create inventory logs and oversee shredding of confidential case files previously stored in several file cabinets crammed in one of the sheds along with assorted boxes and office supplies.With temperatures above 90, Edwards and her volunteers had to clear out the cabinet files, carrying them indoors for sorting. Items from the “junk” shed were placed outside on the grass in piles labeled “trash,” “donations” or “keep.” Gifts in the “Christmas” shed for the annual holiday party were inventoried and re-bagged by age. “I’d say it was more manual work than the typical Gold Award,” said Edwards.Shed cleaning also resulted in a major spider dislodgement, including six black widows sighted by the volunteers and a nest of 30 “daddy long legs” unleashed when an old table was removed. A more pleasant result was the unearthing of usable school supplies, including binders, folders and reams of copy paper.Edwards praises the many volunteers who worked with her, including three Boy Scouts who assisted with heavy lifting and truck owner, Frank Puglisi, who helped transport donations to Goodwill. Family members, including her mom and sister, her school friend Katherine Jacobson and fellow Girl Scout Labrecque also helped out on the project.The Scouts praised troop leader, Bonnie Higa, “who has kept our troop together for over ten years and has encouraged us all to get our Gold Awards and is there for each project,” said Edwards, noting that Higa’s entire family worked one Saturday on the sheds.Edwards has also worked on Labrecque’s Peter Pan production project, helping to duplicate scripts using the center’s aging copier. “The copy machine was somewhat temperamental,” confided the teen, who had to take many forced breaks while the machine “rested” between jobs.Labrecque, a 15-year-old Oak Park High School student who has acted in children’s community theatre since she was five years old (the age she met Edwards at St. Mel’s kindergarten), is looking forward to directing Peter Pan with the enthusiastic group of 21 children who showed up for auditions July 6.“I was impressed,” said Labrecque. “I wasn’t sure how well the kids would respond because they have never done anything like this [but] they could sing [and] there were a lot of really outgoing children. “Just seeing the kids so excited about it, I think it should be a pretty good show. I’m determined it goes really well,” she added.She has been working on the project for months adapting a script, distributing informational flyers, talking to children about acting roles, and holding a bilingual English/Spanish meeting for parents with the translation help of a teen friend.Rehearsals, aided by Labrecque’s team of volunteers, take place at the center on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. The Aug. 19, 7 p.m. performance will be held in the center’s courtyard landscaped with pink “Our Lady of Guadalupe Roses,” the official rose of the archdiocese.“Right from the ‘git-go,’ there was a lot of energy and excitement about this play,” said Wrightson. “I was getting phone calls and parents dropping in all times of the day wanting to sign their child up, boys and girls.”He has nothing but praise for the two Girl Scouts giving up a large portion of the summer to enhance the center’s services.“It really means a lot to us,” said Wrightson. “It’s impressive what they’re going to leave us.”Guadalupe Community Center is located at 21600 Hart St., Canoga Park. For information on its programs or how to assist, call (818) 340-2050. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0722/gs/{/gallery}