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Franklin Square Girl Scouts learn carpentry skills

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Five Girl Scouts from Troop 1268 learned basic carpentry skills on Feb. 20, when they volunteered with Rescuing Families, Inc.

The Franklin Square-based nonprofit rebuilds homes for those in need. In fact, starting next month, volunteers will begin renovations on a house in Hempstead, where floors are breaking, the deck is deteriorating and the roof is leaking. Claire Helfenbein, the homeowner, is unable to make the necessary repairs herself, however, because she uses a wheelchair and spends most of her time caring for her autistic son.

Rescuing Families has also previously helped make a house in Port Jefferson Station more handicap-accessible for a man who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and repaired a house without heat, an operable kitchen or bathroom for two brothers who had recently lost their father.

When Kim Gaudiosi, one of Troop 1268’s leaders, recently heard about this work, she said she “thought this was something I really wanted my Girl Scouts to be involved in” because she and her fellow troop leaders “really want the girls to be connected to their community.”

Gaudiosi ten reached out to Gina and Vinny Centauro, the co-founders of Rescuing Families, who offered to do a project with the girls. The organization has worked with local Girl Scout troops in the past, Gina noted, for fundraising and small construction projects.

At last week’s event, however, Gina, Vinny and Michael Cantone taught the girls how to properly use a hammer and drill to create a wall plaque for the Helfenbeins’ home. “They wanted the girls to understand that it was more than just a wall plaque,” Gaudiosi said. “This is actually going to be a part of someone’s home.”

Most of the girls decided to donate the plaques, Gina said, and Gaudiosi said she would like to have the Girl Scouts get more involved in the organization in the future.

The remaining nine members of the troop were scheduled to make their wall plaques on Feb. 26, after the Herald went to press.