Each spring, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois council honors girls and volunteers that step up, persevere through challenges, and exemplify the spirit of a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. While every person honored at the event has exceptional character and a passion for elevating girls’ leadership potential, one honoree, Sabrina Cooklin’s grit and determination to be the best she can be is truly inspiring.
The 11-year-old is already an accomplished student and business owner, however, her achievements have not come without challenges. Sabrina’s family has experienced many hardships throughout her adolescence. While her parents were divorcing, her mother and brothers were forced to move suddenly. With their car and few possessions, the family relocated to northern, Iowa, where they now reside in Jessup. Sabrina’s mother, Sanja, experienced a major health crisis nearly losing her life. During this period, Sanja knew she needed to teach her children everything she could. Sabrina and her brothers had very little family to rely on and their mother wanted them to be independent. Sabrina enrolled in Iowa Connections Academy and began learning to run a household, cleaning and cooking.
Throughout these unpredictable life situations, Sabrina and her family have always remained grateful for what they have. Even when Sabrina had every reason in the world to be depressed, she persevered and became a positive force for everyone around her. She has skipped two grades and is currently taking grade 8 level classes. She excelled so much in school that she is on track to graduate with a high school diploma and associates degree before she can even drive. She has used her life experiences as an opportunity to become independent, responsible, and highly motivated to make an impact on this world.
“I don’t stop trying,” she says. “I’m not a quitter.”
At the age of 7, Sabrina began her own business, The Loominade Stand. Don’t let the name fool you, her business is no neighborhood lemonade stand. She ships her creations of purses, dolls, dragons, bracelets (you name it) across the world through Etsy. Everything is made from small, colorful rubber bands with a loom. She has her own business bank account where she very smartly puts 10% of all profit made into savings. She purchases her supplies from her business account and is even a member of multiple business networking groups where she is by far the youngest entrepreneur, but treated as an equal. She dreams of one day running an empire, with brick and mortar stores on every corner.
It’s clear that Sabrina leads like a Girl Scout, earning her the Spirit Award, a scholarship for girls in grades 6-8 who demonstrate a spirit of courage, confidence, and character. Innovation and problem-solving are in her DNA and she’s ready to take on the future.
View a full list of other volunteers and girls honored at Annual Meeting and Honoring Excellence on April 8, 2017, at Camp Liberty in New Liberty, Iowa.