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American Heritage Girls Blitzes Communities with First Annual National Day of Service

Thousands of Hours Donated by Catholic Troops Across the Nation Sept. 15 

Contact: Jody Token, 513-771-2025, news@ahgonline.org

CINCINNATI, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- American Heritage Girls (AHG), a Christ-centered character development program for girls kindergarten through age 18, will demonstrate faith through hands and feet of service on its first annual National Day of Service Sept. 15. National Day of Service is AHG's response to the command of Jesus to "love one another."

While troops across the nation will coordinate efforts on Sept. 15, serving is more than a one-day annual project for American Heritage Girls. Last year AHG donated more than 230,000 hours of service to their communities.

"Service is a primary component of AHG's values to incorporate faith in the development of integrity, character and leadership skills," said Patti Garibay, national executive director and founder of American Heritage Girls. "Real experience serving others gives girls the opportunity to grow in their faith and discover their God-given purpose."

National Day of Service coincides with AHG's seventeenth anniversary. Since its inception in 1995, AHG membership has grown by 30-50 percent each year.

As a nondiscriminatory organization, American Heritage Girls troops are sponsored by civic organizations and churches of multiple denominations. In 2011, more AHG troops were started by Catholic churches than by any other denomination. In addition, the largest growth in membership is currently from the homeschool community, which includes many Catholic families.

On this first National Day of Service, individual troops across the U.S. will select their own projects that fulfill the AHG mission to serve God, family, community and country. Projects include assisting in pregnancy care centers, collecting and distributing food to the needy, collecting and assembling toiletries for the homeless and assisting the elderly with home repair projects. Many will participate in local beautification projects from beaches to local parks.

Approximately 30 girls and their families from Catholic Troop CO0002 in Colorado Springs will make pillow case bed bags for the residents at Springs Village Nursing Home. More than 70 girls and their families in the Catholic Rio Rancho, N.M., troop will make pocket dolls for orphans in South Korea. These dolls will be delivered to the Korean orphanage by U.S. Air Force military volunteers in that area.

This kind of service is one facet of the AHG 240-badge program that culminates in the Stars and Stripes Award, AHG's highest honor. To earn the Stars and Strips Award, girls must plan, implement and supervise a 100-plus-hour project to address a need in their community. This highest AHG award is equivalent to the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Award.

Boy Scouts of America recently recognized American Heritage Girls with a historic Memorandum of Mutual Support. It is the first of its type presented by Boy Scouts of America to an all-girls organization in its 100-year history.

On Sept. 15, 14-year-old Megan from St. Louis Troop MO1345 will spend National Day of Service at a pregnancy shelter.  "Service shows that I care about people," Megan said. "I hope my service shows that Jesus cares for them too."

Nine-year-old Gracie agrees: "Making a meal together as a troop is fun, but my faith really grows when we give it away to someone who needs it more than I do."

American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a Christ-centered character development program, open to girls of all faiths and backgrounds, dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, AHG has grown from ten troops and 100 members to more than 20,000 members across four countries and 47 U.S. states. With emphasis on Christian values and family involvement, girls participate in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences. 

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To schedule an interview with Patti Garibay, national executive director and founder of American Heritage Girls, contact Jody Token at 513.771.2025 or news@ahgonline.org.