LONG LAKE, Minn. — A Long Lake girl scout is doing something to protect Minnesota families that no one has ever done before. And she has something much bigger than a badge to prove it.
Makena Prevost is five years into her girl scout career.
"I have learned a lot about my community," she said.
And she wants to go all the way. She has a dream of one day getting a gold award — girl scouts' top ranking — but first she needed a silver.
"The silver award, what you do, is you try to make an impact of your larger community," Prevost said.
And boy, did she ever. After brainstorming with her mom, she had an idea stemming from a concern.
"My siblings are neurodivergent and I have a grandma who has Alzheimer's and so I was just thinking what would happen if my mom or dad got into a car accident and my siblings were left home alone and they wouldn't be able to take care of themselves, would someone know to go and check up on them," Prevost said.
She started doing research at a community watch get-together.
"We went to a local place and talked to Officer Pete Ekenberg about it," Prevost said.
"I said there is no process in place for that," Ekenberg, of the Corcoran Police Department, said.
He suggested the idea of making a mark on driver's licenses to indicate they are a caregiver to vulnerable people.
"I said this is something that should be done already," Ekenberg said. "Great point, it's a great idea and it's gonna help a lot of people."
"I was really excited because I wasn't sure if I would be able to do this or not, because it's a big task," Prevost said.
But these are big thinkers. Ekenberg got the Office of Traffic Safety involved. Then, Rep. Kristin Robbins hopped on the cause. And in just one legislative session, Prevost's idea became law.
"Yes, that was really surprising. I actually had recently taken a government course and that made me realize how fast this was going," she said.
As of Aug. 1, Minnesotans can fill out a quick form to indicate they are caregivers.
"I don't think she understands the amount of people that this is gonna help, this could be really good," Ekenberg said.
"Even if you have a small idea and you don't know where to take it and you don't know if it could actually happen, even putting it out there can make it a reality," Prevost said.,
Prevost will be at the capitol this coming session in hopes of broadening the law and she's going to push for similar laws in all of the surrounding states.
She finds out soon if she gets a silver award. If so, she is going for the gold.
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