SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – Upon completing a four-week program, Sara Miller, a rising senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, will receive the Gold Award, the highest level of recognition for Girl Scouts. 

Miller's Gold Award project featured the participation of three after-school programs with elementary school-aged students at McGinn, Coles and Brunner schools that instructed kids to manage stress with music.

“Stress has increased in children exponentially within the past decade,” Miller said. “I realized that no one is teaching most children to go about dealing with this.”

Sign Up for E-News

Miller applied her thesis to elementary school students by implementing a stress management technique that she used her entire life.

“Music has been the biggest part of my life since I can remember,” she continued. “For me, listening to and playing music is the thing that has gotten me through the most difficult and stressful times in my life. I wanted to share the medicine that is music with these children who will soon be entering a stressful time in their life with the onset of middle school.”

The program included games and activities that taught the children about different types of music, different ways to incorporate music into their everyday lives, a lesson on music around the world, and a rain-stick making session. The children, who started off not knowing what stress meant were able to articulate what it actually is and how reduce stress in their everyday lives over the course of the program.

“My hopes for this project are that people will see the big impact I have had on these children in a short amount of time and be able to bring my program and its important impacts across the nation,” she added .

Her lesson plans and materials can be viewed by visiting is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.