2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts
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2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level. Hear from our remarkable 2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts about the issues they’ve tackled and the differences they’ve made in their communities and beyond.

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Alyssa Agarwal
Sparking Interest in Science through Art

Alyssa found that students lose interest in science early on due to lack of engagement in the classroom. To address this issue, she wrote The Art and Science of Influenza––a book that uses art to educate students about infection, immunity, and vaccines. Working with artists, scientists, and Coronado Middle School faculty, Alyssa created a lasting curriculum that is now used by multiple educators to engage students in science from an artistic perspective.

Alyssa discovered that a student’s imagination is their greatest learning tool and plans to continue integrating her passion for art and science. Additionally, through this experience leading a diverse team of artists, educators, and scientists, her most valuable lesson was the importance of communication and the persistence necessary to reach a common goal.

Thank you to my mentors Mr. Ramirez and Tiffany Chatham Smith, my troop leaders Aileen Teague and Shirley Demer, Coronado Middle School faculty, and my many other collaborators. I would also like to thank my family and friends, I could not have done this without you! A special heartfelt thanks goes to my scientific mentor, the late Dr. Wendy Havran, who sparked my vision for this project and inspired me to teach the next generation of budding scientists.

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Olivia Anderson
Preserving Value

To help mitigate the fact that many elderly feel undervalued and disconnected from their communities, Olivia interviewed 40 seniors at Cypress Court Escondido and Brookdale San Marcos. She then created personalized booklets showcasing each of their unique stories. Olivia demonstrated genuine interest in her subjects, and they took great pride in the process. After making the booklets, she held “pass-back” gatherings, where she gave the books of stories to the residents. To sustain her efforts, she left an instructional guide with each facility to ensure the project is repeatable.

Olivia learned time management skills, and to take things one step at a time. She also improved her communication skills when interacting with and questioning the seniors, as well as corresponding with the facilities she partnered with.

Thank you to Judy Lucous and Jill Lively, who allowed me to partner with their facilities, my supportive mentor, Tiffany Smith, who offered invaluable guidance, and Kim Deile, my dedicated troop leader for 12 years. Also, thank you to my parents for supporting me in this project and all of my other life endeavors.

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Bryn Brentnall
Patient Voices United

Newly diagnosed patients with tuberculosis are medically isolated at a time when they need human contact the most. To provide comfort and support, Bryn created a booklet of letters written by TB survivors to be given out in welcome packets for new patients. Bryn found that not only are these letters empowering for the patients, but to the survivors as well, because they were able to share their experiences with purpose.

Throughout her project, Bryn strengthened her leadership and networking skills. She also learned that preparation and organization for presentations are vital. Lastly, she discovered that even the smallest idea can have a lasting impact on her community.

Thank you to Dr. Susannah Graves and the hard workers at San Diego County TB Control that provide support to patients every day and were willing to help me make this project possible. More importantly, many special thanks to the TB survivors that shared their stories both in person and on paper, your bravery is inspiring.

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Helen Buchanan
Saving Our Bees

Helen created a three-lesson educational class about bees and the environment for kids in fourth and fifth grade. Helen was a longtime member of 4-H beekeeping, and the steady decline of bee population inspired her to share her love of bees. Helen posted her lessons on the San Diego Beekeeping Society’s website so that others can use the lessons for years to come.

Helen found that she loved working with younger kids and seeing them learn and grow.

I would like to thank my community for supporting me and inspiring me to get my Gold Award. I would like to thank my parents for their staunch support throughout the course of my project.

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Emma Caringella
Pop Up Shoe Shop

To provide an uplifting experience for homeless women and children, Emma developed a program at the San Diego Rescue Mission’s Emergency Shelter. She opened a “Pop Up Shoe Shop,” where residents shopped for quality socks and shoes at no cost. Emma encouraged local elementary and high school students to take action. She created a PSA Video about homelessness. The program will continue on at Emma’s high school.

Emma developed communication skills through the relationships she built with residents, organizations, and students. She learned how to quickly adapt to changes, and her leadership skills were greatly enhanced through the process.

I am extremely grateful for my parents for keeping me motivated; Sherri, my mentor, for always being available for help, and my project advisor, Mr. Caro, for being so supportive. Thank you to Debbie Krakauer and Thomas Skalada for their kindness and flexibility with my project at the Rescue Mission, and for all the work they do on a daily basis. Thank you to all the women and children at the Rescue Mission, I am honored to know you!

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Isabella Catanzaro
Water Wise Landscaping

Isabella created Next Generation Science Standard curriculum to promote water conservation validated by her high school’s Garden Club, planned a workshop on the connection between personal outside water use and habitat preservation, and designed a website focused on San Diego County’s habitats. She inspired homeowners to change their yards to save water and preserve San Diego's native ecosystems.

Isabella learned that educating the public and her community is essential to enacting social or legislative change surrounding conservation. Yards that conserve water will become examples to share the concept of water wise landscaping with their neighbors and greater community.

I would like to thank Rosalie Wisniew for her continued support and encouragement of my pursuits; Danielle Adler of San Diego Youth Science for her invaluable advice regarding curriculum; Dr. Carey Pellerin for her advice on the Next Generation Science Standards; and the Pacific Beach Taylor Public Library. I also thank City Council Member Dr. Jennifer Campbell for recognizing my activism and environmental leadership with a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego.

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Jessica Chammas
Healthy Food Choices Project

After listening to the concerns from the principle of Nativity Prep Academy about student diets consisting mainly of chips and sugary snacks, Jessica partnered with the nursing students from the University of San Diego to educate the sixth-grade class on the importance and consequences of healthy and nutritional diets. Through several presentations, Jessica gave low income families simple and affordable ways to maintain a healthy diet. The PowerPoint presentation she used will be passed onto incoming middle schoolers to continue the spread of knowledge.

Through disseminating her message, Jessica became aware of the power that words hold and became inspired to become more vocal. She also discovered her affinity in public speaking and found trust within herself: to harness her passion in a variety of circumstances.

Thank you to my mother, father, and sisters; Gold Award Committee member Ms. Marilyn Fullen; my project advisor Tracy Page; and my fellow girl scouts for their advice and encouragement. I appreciate all your support, and thank you for the help that allowed the project to succeed!

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Adhiti Chandramohan
Emergency Awareness, Disaster Preparedness

Through engaging workshops, Adhiti taught others how to stay safe during natural disasters. Focusing on the most vulnerable—seniors and children grades 4-10—she implemented her lesson plans at schools, Girl Scout troops, and community centers in San Diego. Adhiti has also released her lesson plans online, which can be used by anyone preparing for a natural disaster.

By deciding to pursue her Gold Award, Adhiti proved she was capable of implementing changes she wanted to see in her community. The lessons she learned in time management, public speaking, and leadership will prepare her well for the future.

I'd like to thank my family, Ms. Punam, and Ms. Jennipher for always pushing me to my best, as well as the RB Neighborhood Watch program, Ms. Hodel, and Ms. Jones for allowing me to present my ideas. All of you have helped shaped me into the person I am today, and I am incredibly grateful.

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Laura Christensen
Pool Safety

Laura taught elementary school children and their parents the importance of being safe around the pool in order to avoid accidental drowning or injury. Laura's project will continue to impact the lives of those she taught and future students at the elementary schools.

Laura learned measurable ways to increase safety around the pool, and gained experience and knowledge of how to be a better, more effective leader.

I would like to give a great thank you to my project advisor, Ginger Johnson and committee mentor, Tracy Bracht for the outstanding help they have given me. Without them, my friends, family, and encouraging troop leader, Sabrina Zimmerman, this project would not have been possible.

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Alyssa Ciemiewicz
Outdoor Learning Gardens

Alyssa created an alternative learning environment for elementary age students at Stone Ranch Elementary School in 4S Ranch. Despite technological advancements in our world today, Alyssa wanted to teach students how to become more engaged in their outdoor environment rather than solely relying on technology. Alyssa engaged with multiple age groups and a variety of teachers within the school. Students and staff will continue to care for and maintain the gardens that were created at the elementary school.

Alyssa learned how to engage with a variety of elementary age students and staff as well as understanding the benefits of hands-on, outdoor learning experiences.

I would like to thank my family, the administration and staff at Stone Ranch Elementary School, and my Girl Scout troop and leader for being a supportive and caring group.

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Angelina Courtney
Writing the Way to Reality

Angelina hosted a series of workshops on subjects like character, dialogue, tone, setting, and self-publishing that all targeted educating high school students on how to write creatively for application beyond school. This will be continued through writing communities already within the school system, sustaining the legacy of what lies beyond the realm of public education.

Angelina learned that being able to subtly push people out of their comfort zone and have that expectation put back on her was an incredible shock and just as rewarding.

I'd like to thank my committee mentor Tiffany, who stuck with me and helped me get this all done in less than a year. Without her, I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have wanted for so long.

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Cadence Dobias
ImpACT Courseware

Cadence created an anti-human trafficking curriculum which addressed the lack of information on human trafficking for individuals and nonprofit entities such as Safe House Project. Her workshops educated people on human trafficking scenarios, explanations, and statistics, as well as how to prevent it. She hopes to establish an anti-human trafficking curriculum as a requirement for UC school educators and students on a semester basis.

Through her Gold Award, Cadence learned leadership, delegation skills, and time management.

I would like to first and foremost thank Ms. Laura Rice, my project advisor, and Ms. Jennipher Harris, my project mentor. It is because of them that this was a possibility, and I am incredibly grateful for the time and dedication that they put in to make this a success.

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Caytre Ede
How To Survive and Thrive In High School

Using the insight of middle school counselors and her own experiences, Caytre created twelve high school readiness workshops to educate eighth graders district-wide about how to academically and socially thrive in high school. She also published handbooks on the three middle schools' websites, as a sustainable tool for eighth graders to learn about the aspects of their future high school choices.

Caytre realized the impact of student to student interactions and how significant it is to express empathy in all situations. She is now confident in her abilities as a leader of the younger generations, which is a skill that will remain with her throughout high school and beyond.

Thank you to all of the CUSD middle school counselors, my project advisor Leah Becker, and Jennipher Harris for your guidance and collaboration throughout my project. I am also grateful to my parents for always encouraging me to pursue the endeavors that expand my character.

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Veronica Louise Edwards
Project Lady Business

Veronica tackled the lack of feminine products in homeless shelters and impoverished areas around San Diego and Mexico. She provided homeless women with the resources they needed to be able to get through their periods without worrying about finding sanitary products. Veronica enlisted younger girls to help put together the bags while teaching them about the importance of the topic. She also created an informational brochure.

By doing this project, Veronica learned a lot about the issue of the lack of feminine products for homeless women. She developed skills in time-management and decisiveness. She learned that she can be very proactive when she pushes herself to succeed.

Thank you to Ana Alvord and St Michael's Church Poway for giving me the opportunity to do this project with them. Thanks to my friends and family for their donations and support.

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Siena Fischel
Healthy Choices, Happy Life

Siena addressed the nationwide need for nutrition education for youth. Many kids don’t understand that the food they put in the bodies affect their health or that it is possible to make affordable, healthy food choices. She primarily helped educate families with young children ages 5-12, who learned new affordable recipes and the importance of eating nutritious snacks and meals.

She learned that when she opened herself up and talked to people from her community, she became more confident in herself. She practiced public speaking and communication, and learned persistence and adaptability.

I would like to thank Judy Pritchett, my mentor, Melissa Fischel, my troop leader, Regina Connell, my advisor, and all of the staff at the Solana Beach Library. They made my project so much more efficient and have a greater impact.

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Belle Flanegan
My Life, My Story

"My Life, My Story" tied together the community and performance art, and addressed the lack of an intergenerational connection. She and drama student volunteers spent a day interviewing seniors at the City of Carlsbad Senior Center. Then, Belle created a script that was performed by the students. A video of "My Life, My Story" is available on the Senior Center’s website to keep the project alive.

"My Life, My Story" taught Belle how to be a strong leader and stay organized when working with different groups of people. She built long lasting relationships and benefitted her community in a positive way by bridging the generational gap.

I would like to thank Blake McCarty with New Village Arts for introducing me to "verbitas style theatre" as well as Rosemary Eshelman (CUSD), Christine Gallup (Troop Leader) and especially Margaret Hammer with the Carlsbad Senior Center for their immense guidance and support. I would also like to thank Audrey Goins, Priya Richard, Luca Stapleton, Nina Bujewski, Abby DeSpain, and Mirella Quon (the performers), as well as all six of our senior volunteers.

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Katelyn Gaglio
Geological Education Box

Katelyn created a hands-on educational tool—a box displaying fossils of extinct species, crystals from around the world, fluorescent minerals, and local specimens—in her community to interest younger kids in geology. She also founded the Gem and Mineral club at her high school to encourage geology excitement among her peers. With help from the El Cajon Valley Lapidary Society, Katelyn’s box will continue spreading knowledge through school visits, Girl Scouting programs, and local events.

During this project, Katelyn had many setbacks that life threw her way; finishing high school, starting college, and beginning a new job. This began to take her time away from the project and drew her attention elsewhere, but she had made a commitment to Girl Scouts which persevered through to the very end. Katelyn began to practice time management skills and was able to create enough time to get this project finished before the deadline. Despite all these setbacks, Katelyn never gave up on her goal and followed it through.

I personally want to thank the El Cajon Valley Lapidary Society and their former president Paul Clifford for their guidance and assistance, The Dizaye family for their support and specimen donations, Joel Ball for construction help and thank you Mom for keeping me motivated and pushing me along. No one ever doubted that I would complete this project, and with their support, I was able to succeed in my goals with flying colors.

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Cecelia Gant
Courage in STEM

To improve access, confidence, and courage in STEM, Cece promoted these subjects to K-12 girls by creating an original STEM curriculum for workshops hosted at libraries, low-income communities, and internationally in Paraguay. Cece also organized a “STEMposium” where successful women in STEM discussed their careers. Poway High’s Society of Women in engineering will carry this mission into the future.

Cece learned how important it is to follow through with promises. While gaining more confidence in her own ability to lead, she realized that putting a lot of work into something will pay off and teamwork is critical.

I would like to thank my parents for always believing in me, my sisters for always helping me, and my Girl Scout troop 8390 for always inspiring me; you all made my Gold Award journey much more meaningful. This project would not have been a success without the help of Suzanne Crane, my troop leader; Jennipher Harris, my mentor; Tracy Nguyen, my project advisor; Jennifer Winward, my inspiration; and those at school who supported my efforts, so thank you all!

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Maya Glover-Castro
Social Justice Club

To combat the lack of education about social justice issues that exists among high school students, Maya started a club at Westview High School. At meetings, she created an open space for students to discuss controversial issues. She shared information on the club Instagram, @wvsocialjustice, which will be taken over by a current junior.

Maya learned the importance of listening to others, to understand others perspectives and opinions; She had to be encouraging and open-minded to make sure the information being shared with the club made them want to learn more.

I would like to thank my mom for encouraging me; my club members who pushed me to achieve my best throughout this project; and my project advisor, Ann Clevenger for supporting the club and giving us a space to have these discussions.

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Jordan Grasley
Community Book

Jordan researched and developed an elementary school curriculum for students to articulate their personal stories through a series of social and emotional lessons. She named the project "Community Book." The student-centered portfolios were a bridge to sharing personal things about themselves to their peers in order to gain empathy and build their classroom community. “Community Book” is a sustainable written curriculum that will be used by the 4th grade team at Park Dale Lane Elementary School yearly. It will also be provided to the eight other schools in the Encinitas Union School District as part of an ongoing effort to foster the Social Emotional health of their students.

Jordan learned a tremendous amount about herself throughout the Gold Award Process. She enjoyed stepping into a leadership role and creating curriculum that helped children express themselves to their peers. Her students reflected that they made deep connections with their classmates as a result.

I would like to thank my troop leader, Deb Huy for encouraging us to go Gold. I would also like to thank Tracy Bracht, Melissa Scharbarth, Sarah Wood and my mom for their help planning, organizing, and editing my Community Book project.

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Ashley Hanson
Injury Prevention Program for Dancers

Ashley created an injury awareness and wellness program for dancers. She held presentations for dancers ages 6-18 on how to take care of their bodies to decrease preventable dancing injuries. Presentations also included advice on stretching, nutrition, and rest.

Ashley learned that she has a passion for helping people and health. She improved her public speaking skills by creating and giving presentations with the intended to help dancers improve their well-being.

I would like to thank my committee mentor Marilyn Fuller and my advisor Emily Pepper for helping me throughout the entire project. I would also like to thank my Grandma, Mom, and sister who were all Girl Scouts for inspiring me to be a Girl Scout and pursue my Gold Award.

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Isabel Heaton
CCA Engineering Outreach Club

Isabel created a new club at her high school to educate middle school students about various advanced engineering topics. With this education, students became more passionate about engineering and wanting to pursue STEM fields in the future.

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Brianna Heinken
Match Point: Tennis Across the Border

Brianna Heinken developed a program to introduce the sport of tennis to children at an orphanage in Tijuana. The participants learned about basic techniques and drills. During breaks, they enjoyed snacks and nutritional lessons. Based on the program’s success, caretakers at the orphanage and local students will continue to conduct it.

Brianna gained the confidence to overcome challenges, no matter how daunting they seem, and gained valuable problem-solving skills. She also learned that she has the ability to make a significant difference in the lives of others through her hard work.

I would like to thank the Coronado Rotary Club, my mentor Tracy Bracht, and the volunteers who helped make my project a success. I would especially like to thank my parents, Amanda and Dale, for always supporting and encouraging my ambitions.

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Rachel Henrickson

Adopt a Fur-ever Friend

Rachel tackled the issue of homeless cats and kittens in Mexico by hosting a series of adoption events and educational workshops. Rachel partnered with Kahoots Pets Supply, Unleashed by Petco at multiple locations, and Grossmont mall. Her project will have a lasting impact in the community; the Baja Cantu Animal Rescue shelter she partnered with will continue to host adoption events.

Rachel learned how to professionally talk with store managers and she gained understanding of legal work which was a requirement to partner with the companies. She fostered six of the kittens she got adopted and this gave her a larger sense of responsibility.

I want to thank my mom, my grandma, Data, Marilyn, Troop 6052, Troop 319, and the managers at the Kahoots and Unleashed for all their support. Thank you!

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Paige Hill
Outdoor Art Club

Paige combined her love of art, the outdoors, and psychology to start an outdoor art club for teens at Helix Charter High School. The objective was to spread the message that the combination of green exercise plus the emotional outlet afforded to teens in artistic expression is a healthy and effective way to improve self-esteem and reduce stress.

Paige learned the importance of teamwork to overcome challenges. She initially struggled to recruit members and keep them engaged. By involving her team in all aspects of the club, they created an engaging experience for all and eliminated her anxiety.

I would like to thank the Girl Scouts San Diego backpacking program volunteers, including my dad, and my project advisor Corinne de Rond for encouraging my love of the outdoors, backpacking, and leadership. Special thanks goes to my mom for being a supportive and amazing troop leader for 13 years.

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Julianne Hom
Music Treble in Elementary Schools

After elementary music programs were threatened to be cut, Julianne promoted music education in the University City community. She recruited her high school classmates to teach elementary students at monthly band and orchestra clinics. Julianne also raised money to buy 12 music stands and collected 30 method books for the students, who were inspired to practice more and pursue music in middle school. Julianne’s volunteers will sustain her program beyond her involvement.

Julianne has become more self-confident in organizing events, and an effective communicator with adults, classmates, and children. She learned how to motivate and support her volunteers and participants.

This project would not have been possible without Mr. Corenman, my music director and project advisor; Mr. Bongiovanni, the elementary band teacher; Judy Pritchett, my mentor; my music classmates at University City High School; and my parents. Thank you all for your support!

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Cadence Hsu
Young Entrepreneurs

Working with Wells Fargo and the nonprofit VentureLab, Cady created a free summer program that integrated entrepreneurship and financial literacy into one unique curriculum for elementary and middle school students. She set up a booth at a STEM festival, held two three-day long workshops, and worked with junior Girl Scout troops to help them achieve the product designer badge. Her project will be continued through lesson plans Cady provided to elementary school teachers in her community.

Through her project, Cady learned invaluable skills in both teaching and leadership. She recognized the importance of community building and how to be an effective collaborator.

Heartfelt thank you to Antonette Harris, Scott Mann, Lorenzo Mata, and my Girl Scouts mentor Marilyn Fullen-- no words can express how grateful I am for the support and guidance you provided. I would also like to thank my parents and my friend Venice Park for helping me make my project possible. 

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Sydney Huy
Community Library Box

Sydney addressed literacy within a lower-income community where book access is limited due to financial and transportation issues. Sydney partnered with La Mirada Academy, a K-8 school, to build and install a community library box. She enlisted Hometown Realty to collect 400+ books. La Mirada continues to replenish the box with books and she shared her plans with missionaries in Mexico.

Sydney realized that providing books for young kids truly helped spark their love for reading. She also learned that she can accomplish things that seem difficult if she focuses on the final outcome.

I would like to thank Erica Obrist for being an amazing community partner and helping and supporting me along the way. I would also like to thank my mentor, Jennipher Harris, for ensuring that my project reached its full potential. Lastly, I would like to thank my parents for keeping me focused and motivated to keep working harder every day.

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Jade Marie Ingham
Project Finance

Jade created a mentoring club named Life Skills Club at her Fallbrook high school. She realized that many schools don't have resources or classes that would provide students with essential life skills and knowledge necessary in adulthood, like budgeting and filing taxes. Through her weekly club meetings, after-school workshops, and presentations local high school seniors, she made a lasting impact for the young adults in her community. Her club and lesson plans will be handed down and taught even after her graduation.

Jade learned that consistency is key to accomplish a project this big. She learned to be able to lead her peers and take on the teacher's position, how to communicate effectively with adults to get the job done and how to research the topics she was going to teach. She learned to master that knowledge because as the saying goes: "If you can't teach it simply, then you don't know it well enough." Additionally, she developed her presentation skills and now feels comfortable being in front of large crowds.

I'd like to thank my mentor, Jennipher Harris, for sticking with me and giving me the best guidance I could have asked for, and my mom for believing in me through times of trial. I'd also like to thank the staff and students of Fallbrook High School who helped me along the way, including but not limited to Micheal Gray, Shawndra Bird, Adriana Lopez, and Dr. Narciso Iglesias.

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Rosanna Javier
Rosanna's Community Bookshelf

To combat the decline of leisure reading and sense of community in a technology-dependent society, Rosanna established “Rosanna’s Community Bookshelf” at Lemon Grove Community Garden. The community bookshelf encourages visitors to “take a book and leave a book.” Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Rosanna held virtual presentations on the importance of reading and how it can help the community during the struggles of social distancing.

Rosanna developed the ability to adjust and adapt during unprecedented times. She also learned how to motivate herself and come up with creative ways to unite her community. She strengthened her leadership skills and saw first-hand how a project, no matter the size, could make a lasting impact.

I would like to thank my mentor, Tracy Bracht, for helping and encouraging me through this process; I would also like to thank my mom, dad, and sister for assisting me in the implementation of my bookshelf. Finally, I would like to thank Lemon Grove Community Garden for supporting my vision and helping me bring it to fruition.

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Serena Jones
Critical Aid Relief Effort (C.A.R.E.)

Serena created an educational campaign at La Jolla High School to educate students on how to be safe in natural disasters called Critical Aid Relief Effort (C.A.R.E.). She hosted events to teach survival and planning techniques, held a clothing drive around her school to send to other students, and helped implement and maintain a water bottle refill station on campus.

The most important skills that Serena learned while creating and implementing this project was cultivating her leadership and responsibility skills. Through the project she grew as a person for the better and feels more confident in both of those skills.

I would like to thank my project advisor Michael Fiedler, my committee mentor Linda Wightman, Troop 3015, Suzanne Yorgin, Ray Chang, Wendy Wira, and most importantly my sister Daphne Jones and my mom Megan Casey-Jones.

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Jeyan Kirtay
Bridging the STEM Gender Gap at a Young Age

Jeyan noticed a discrepancy in the number of females compared to males in STEM, stemming from negative interactions at a young age. She created an afterschool program in collaboration with Francis Parker Lower School that engaged young boys and girls, ages 5-10, in STEM through an interactive, collaborative curriculum in which students learned to work together and respect one another.

Jeyan learned that it is often the little things that make the largest impact. By helping foster positive relationships between young students through simple activities, she noticed an increase in cooperation and love of STEM in her students.

This project would not have been possible without the guidance and help from my project advisor, Rachel Krause; Gold Award committee mentor, Jen Pernicano; troop leader, Elaine Rosen; supervisors LaChe Robinson, Erika Chapa, and Kevin Dunn, and the Francis Parker Lower School. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their unwavering support and encouragement.

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Jamison Ma
Speak Out!

Speak Out! is an educational project with a goal to spread mental health awareness and decrease stigma among teenagers. Jamie worked with high school and middle school students to change the negative connotation around mental health into a topic that is acceptable to discuss. She focused on normalizing imperfection and highlighted support resources that are available for students.

Throughout my project, I gained confidence in my leadership and planning abilities, as well as respect for everyone I meet because you never know what people are going through, and what they are struggling with.

Speak Out! would not have been possible without the endless support from Tiffany Chatham Smith, John Unwin, and Teri Strohm. I am so thankful for my friends, shout-out to Troop 1020, and everyone at CCA who were so eager to help me in any way possible!

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Cammy MacKinnon
Sense the Change

As an autism advocate, Cammy created a sensory room to support the overall well-being and daily progress of the students she supports. The room at Vista High School is filled with creative seating, a custom sensory board, and interactive stations. Future classes of students are free to use the room to manage their own needs.

Cammy has gained the ability to lead a team of educated professionals and gain their respect in the process. She learned to believe in her own creative ability and was impressed to see what she was capable of.

I want to thank my mentor, Jennipher Harris, for staying with me through every one of my Gold Award ideas; my project advisor for her creative flexibility during my project; my troop for all their encouragement; and most importantly my mother, and troop leader, for her endless support during every accomplishment as well as every mistake. Without you I might not have succeeded, Thank You!

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Riya Madan
Keeping It Straight

Riya educated teenagers and adults about the importance of having proper posture and exercising every day. She led classes, in-person and on Zoom, to teach simple back and core exercises that can help improve posture. Riya has created and posted different exercise videos on her YouTube channel, as well as promoted a healthy lifestyle through her blog.

Riya gained a tremendous amount of knowledge throughout her journey. She not only improved her public speaking skills but learned that as long as she puts her mind to her goals, she will achieve it.

A big thank you to my Project Advisor - Shelby Plummer, DPT, from Activo Physical therapy & Wellness, for helping me through my journey and for being always available for any questions; to my Gold Award Committee Mentor - Judy Pritchett, for guiding me through the entire process; to my troop leader - Cindy Collins, for being a role model and many years of guidance. And of course, a huge thank you to all my friends and family that helped and supported me through my Gold Award project!

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Mikayla Mann
Saving our Barn Owls

Mikayla created educational kits for schools that included a presentation and activities to teach students about secondary poisoning, especially in owls. She partnered with Wildlife Research Institute, teachers, and Master Gardeners across the country, and worked event booths at Hawk Watch and other festivals to educate attendees. Mikayla's kits are reproducible, reusable, and available online, keeping her project sustainable.

Mikayla learned efficient project management and organization skills. She became more confident with public speaking and collaboration. Her problem-solving and decision-making strategies improved. She learned how to take risks and have courage when working outside of her comfort zone.

I would like to thank Ms. Sherri Charter (my mentor), Ms. Leigh Bittner and Ms. Katie Quint (my project advisors), and the Wildlife Research Institute for supporting me and offering help during this journey. I would also like to thank all of the teachers and Master Gardeners who volunteered to educate their students this year and beyond, and my parents for their encouragement and assistance.

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Mia Marino
Follow the Signs

Mia implemented an ASL club at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts to bring awareness to the hearing community about communication barriers that exist in the deaf and hard of hearing community. Mia’s club targeted students and staff at her school. Going further, this club will educate and impact current and future students to inform others and celebrate this culture.

Mia learned how to create and lead a team. She gained leadership, communication, organization, and time management skills which helped make her club grow throughout the years. Starting this club has also taught her that even small changes can have a large impact.

Thank you to Judy Pritchett for guiding me throughout this process and Rebecca Babbey for taking the time to be my advisor. Lastly, I would like to thank my friends for being a part of my project and my family for supporting and encouraging me.

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Ashley Matter
Unified Cheerleading Program at South Bay Schools

Ashley led an inclusive cheerleading camp for students in the Sweetwater Union High School District to increase awareness and participation in Unified Sports, a Special Olympics program which combines individuals with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. The project was designed to show that there are meaningful ways for people of all abilities to participate in sports.

By creating a culture of inclusion, Ashley helped break down stereotypes and foster new friendships. She developed strong leadership and communication skills and will continue to positively impact her community by serving as an advocate for students with special needs.

Thank you to my family, especially my great grandma, Peggy Olson, who has been a Girl Scout leader for 52 years and inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others. I am grateful for the support of my community mentor, Valerie Separa Ruiz, my Gold Award Committee mentor Marilyn Fullen, Sweetwater High School cheer coach Sesha Haynes, and my team of volunteers who helped make my project a success.

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Makayla Mayor
Teaching Sign Language to Specials Ed Kids

Makayla taught American Sign Language (ASL) to disabled children to help better their communication with their parents and others. In order to address a wider community, she created a YouTube channel with informational videos to inspire other people to learn.

Makayla learned how important it was to be able to teach someone a new language. She saw the impact of teaching these kids another language and the change it made in their learning and living at home; they wanted to keep going even after the time was up!

I want to thank my parents for never giving up on me, my Gold Award committee mentor, Marilyn Fullen, and my friends who guided me and kept pushing me through my process.

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Molly McCullough
A Step Towards the End of Pollution

Molly addressed the issue of pollution in her community by partnering with One San Diego and setting up an informational booth at their “We Have Your Back” backpack events. She educated children about the effects of pollution, called them to take action, and engaged them through a recycled craft project. She shared her lesson plans so future groups can learn about her project.

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Summer McGuckin
Use Your Voice, Use Your Vote

Summer McGuckin worked with Rock the Vote to hold voter registration workshops for high schoolers. To increase voter turnout and educate students on political issues, she founded an activism club and organized various events. Over 1,200 students participated in these events, and the club will continue to encourage further civic engagement within the community.

With this project, she gained a greater understanding of the impact of student activism. She saw what could be accomplished by bringing together the different groups within her community and learned about herself as a leader through the process.

Thank you to Mrs. Melrose and my friends Amberlyn Rhoades, Sarah Almenanza, Joana Yabes, and Jamie Kuang for believing in this project from the beginning. I am also eternally grateful for the support of my family and the guidance of my Gold Award Committee mentor, Anne Bader.

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Sophia Morrison
Project Happy Hearts

Sophia created a mindfulness course curriculum that addressed the lack of emotional hygiene practices implemented into elementary schools. She worked with students ages 6-18 through interactive courses designed and led by students at High Tech High North County. The courses included: exploring sensory calming techniques, practicing yoga and meditation, and discussing the importance of building relationships through compassion. She was able to create a lasting syllabus that can be adapted to implement this program in elementary schools in the future.

Sophia found it to be incredibly valuable to work with people whose ideas differ from her own, in addition to the importance of diverse opinions. She hopes to work in education in the future and this project helped Sophia to experience teaching and leading first hand.

Special thanks to Carol, my wonderful project advisor, for inspiring me and showing me what it means to be a change maker. I am so grateful for my school community, my family, my always supportive mom, and all of my Girl Scout family for making this possible!

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Allison Mulvehill
STEM Our Way

Allison was motivated to get girls interested in STEM at a young age. She launched an educational program geared towards elementary school girls where she taught engaging STEM activities at a local school and within her Girl Scouts community. She also created an online magazine for girls that featured women in STEM careers, as well as experiments and fun facts.

Allison learned to step out of her comfort zone to communicate with professionals in the field and collaborate with other STEM experts. She also learned to be flexible and have fun even if an experiment didn't go as planned.

Thank you to Mrs. Kriskey and Mrs. Cohen for opening up their classrooms to me. A big shout-out to Cora Carmody (Wombat) for exposing me to the power of STEM through Technology Goddesses and to my Mom for always supporting me.

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Alyssa Olszewski
Super Bears

Alyssa created a club at her high school called Super Bears, where she taught students the lost art of sewing by hand. The students learned to sew teddy bears, which were then donated to the Edmund D. Edelman Children's Courthouse.

The club has expanded Alyssa's knowledge on organizations and the steps needed to gain a donation. In addition, she learned how to confidently and sufficiently teach others a skill that will be with them for life.

I would like to thank Kalie Betts and Marilyn Fullen; no words can express how grateful I am for the help and guidance you provided. I also thank my family and friends for all their incredible support and effort on sewing the bears for the children. I couldn’t have done it without you all.

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Samaya Patel
Masikhule Children Education

Samaya was dedicated to bettering the education of underprivileged children in South Africa by helping kids below the poverty line receive the educational tools they need to succeed. She created a club called Books without Borders and educated its members on the importance of education in that community. Her club will continue beyond her involvement.

This project taught Samaya to communicate with people of all ages, she realized how strong her passion was for this organization and the problem she was trying to solve. She learned commitment on a whole other level. This project taught her that it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to try new things. Everything works out when you have the passion to do it.

I want to thank my parents first and foremost for helping me not only find but establish what I wanted to do and the issue I wanted to address. I would also like to give a big thank you to my Gold Award committee mentor, Jen, my project advisor, Sandy, and my troop leader, Cindy for being such an amazing support system. 

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Lucia Perez Valles
Embrace our Community

After noticing that technology has decreased children’s creativity, Lucia educated kids about putting aside their electronic devices. She created the Embrace our Community project in San Ysidro. In partnering with Casa Familiar, Lucia saw that the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, had a similar problem, so she invented a bilingual project. Lucia developed a telephone brochure, implemented 25 free workshops, and a video to involve more than 500 children between the ages of 7-12. The Embrace Our Community project will be maintained by Casa Familiar, who continues to distribute and reproduce these materials.

This project has empowered Lucia to step out of her comfort zone by speaking in public and encouraging children. In addition, she established the determination needed to take action, to be courageous, and to do the right thing successfully.

Special thanks to my troop leader, Irene Barajas; project advisor, Estela Flores; Gold Award Committee mentor, Judy Pritchett; my Hermanitas mentors, Paty Corrales and Elizabeth Alejos; my lovely family for being there every step of the way; and everyone at Casa Familiar.

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Hailey Pryor
Sister City Exchange Program

Wanting to increase cultural awareness among students and to make travel affordable to all regardless of income, Hailey started a student exchange program at her high school. She partnered the Sister City Organization in San Diego and her group visited San Diego’s Sister City in Alacala, Spain for two weeks. Students from Spain also stayed with Hailey’s group in San Diego for two weeks.

Hailey learned that fundraising is difficult and working with a large group of people, getting forms filled out and turned in on time takes a lot of patience. The friendships she made and saw form between her friends will last a lifetime.

I would like to thank my mom and Penelope Bledsoe from Sister Cities. I would also like to thank our teachers in Spain, Silvia Martin Munoz and Clara Fragile who helped to coordinate the program in Spain. 

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Lily Roughneen
Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Curriculum

Through an informational assembly, Lily educate students at her high school about human trafficking through interactive role-play, true stories, and statistics. The assembly will be held every two years at the school. 

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Faith Ruiz
Establishing a support group and practicing healthy coping skills

To address the significance of mental health amongst teens, Faith introduced healthy coping skills to teens in her community. After observing that several teens made poor decisions when it came to their coping strategies, she hosted an Aromatherapy and art workshop as well as several other workshops. She continues to host workshops as the need of support groups continue to grow.

Faith was able to develop many skills that will help her succeed in life. She also learned that she helped other teens in her community establish a support group and start practicing healthy coping skills. She is excited and motivated to continue helping teens practice healthy coping skills and encourages them to join their support group.

I would like to thank my project advisor Tracy Bracht and troop leader Tracy Parker for guiding me. I would also like to thank the owner of Slim Gym, Vera Stephina for letting me host some of my workshops at her gym. Thank you to the special guests from my workshops, Nancy Egan and Oksana Heicklen. Last but not least, I would like to thank my mom for being there with me every step of the way.

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Paige Scarbrough
First Aid Basics & Concussion Prevention for Students

As an athlete and sports medicine student, Paige noticed that many of her peers did not have knowledge about basic first aid or the signs of concussions. She developed a presentation that addressed this issue for a variety of students in 4th-12th grades. With the assistance of local Girl Scout troops, Helix High School's sports medicine program, La Mesa Fire Department, and the Sporting SD Soccer organization, Paige provided hands-on education to many students. She also equipped attendees with basic first aid kits and taught how to use them. Her presentation, with speaker notes in simple terms, is available for teaching this information.

While working on this project, Paige researched current standards for basic first aid and sports medicine. She developed a visual presentation that would be understandable for a large range of recipients in simple terms. While developing her project, she had to learn how to overcome obstacles and frustrations regarding scheduling, cancellations, and technical difficulties.

I would like to thank my current troop and past troops, and my leaders Carly Garrett and Bekah Hill. I'd also like to thank my teacher Kathryn Welch and my parents for their support.

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Shriya Selvakumar
Improving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Cognitive Skills

Shriya created useful activities and informational packets for Alzheimer’s patients, caretakers, and families to use in order to enhance their quality of life. She spent time engaging with the patients at ActivCare to create a library and monthly activity that would develop patients’ cognitive skills. Shriya measured the impact of her project by surveying caretakers in both her community and India to see how she’s helped families and raised awareness.

In completing this project, Shriya learned so much about people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By engaging directly with patients, she found how delicate their minds were and how the disease had transformed their lives. Shriya found it a valuable experience to learn more about a condition that affects over 44 million people, and feels blessed to be able to help some of them through her project.

I would like to thank Denise Notter for encouraging me to engage with Alzheimer’s patients and Anne Bader for guiding me towards my goal. I would also like to thank my family and Troop 8854 for supporting me throughout this journey.

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Annalisa Simonetti
Building Confidence Through Color Guard

Annalisa encouraged confidence in middle school girls through color guard performance with an after-school program at Bernardo Heights Middle School. Partnering with high school coaches, she developed a performance routine that they were able to take to competition for the first time ever.

Annalisa learned that you can take something you are passionate about and create an environment of encouragement and confidence building. She has grown as a leader and performer through working with these girls. It's solidified her goal to become a teacher.

I would like to thank my high school coaches Sarah Abdulal, Matthew Bence, and Mrs. Mougel from Bernardo Heights Middle School for making this possible. I would also like to thank my parents and Giggles for their continuous support and encouragement though my project.

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Victoria Smitham
Working Towards Literacy

Victoria channeled her passion for the humanities and worked with the Words Alive organization to develop curriculum and engaging activities for underprivileged students in San Diego. She held workshops at the North County Immigration Center to help immigrants gain literacy skills and pass the citizenship test. In addition, Victoria distributed books and lesson plans to immigrants in her workshops-in-a-box.

Seeing the struggles of being illiterate, Victoria learned from her students the significance of education. She used patience, empathy, and determination to reach her target audience and persisted throughout the obstacles in her project.

I would like to give a profound thank you to my amazing mentor, Tiffany Smith, project advisor, Goretty Enriquez, my family, and Troop 1674, who have stuck with me since Daisies.

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Anika Sood
She Can Code (SCC)

Anika developed a computer science program which empowers girls to explore computer science careers they would usually shy away from due to complexity, and lack of support and role models. She created easy to follow curriculum, led collaborative workshops for 4th to 12th graders, and profiled women role models on the SCC site to inspire students. The Del Norte Girls in Computer Science club will manage the SCC in the years to come.

Anika’s confidence as a leader grew as she stepped out of her comfort zone. She improved her communication and organization skills as she worked with a variety of people, and met strict deadlines.

Thank you to my advisor, Kristina Vanderslice, and my committee mentor, Linda Wightman, for guiding me along the way. I’m forever thankful to my friends in the Del Norte Girls in Computer Science club for helping me teach and create lessons. I’d also like to thank my family for supporting me every step of the way- I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

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Erica Strohm
Helping OFNO Build Bond the Orphans

Erica’s worked at an orphanage in Tecate Mexico to grow community and bonding among the children ages 3-12.  She worked with the kids to build a Gaga court, a large wooden octagon to play the game “Gaga” in. Erica held two additional workshops with the kids to teach them about recycling. She did two up cycling projects, creating wind spirals out of water bottles, and bird feeders out of toilet paper rolls. Erica’s church will help sustain her project, returning to the orphanage five times per year.

Erica learned how to be a leader throughout this project; she learned how to step up, make a difference, and manage her time well. Erica worked very hard to plan everything ahead and plan things very well. She learned how much she enjoys working with children and helping people in need.

I would love to thank my mentor Tiffany, for helping me throughout my whole project, and my mentor Derek for EVERYTHING. I am so thankful for the support from my family, friends, people who donated, volunteers, and most importantly my mom, which is also my troop leader, for pushing me through the hardest times in my project. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

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Emma Taila
(Y)OURS

Emma empowered future voters by teaching them how to use their political power as young people and to register to vote with an educational program and voter registration drives at school. Young people, while the largest voting block, often have roadblocks to voting, which Emma taught them how to navigate. She worked in classrooms at Serra High School and with HeadCount at various concerts. She will continue to make politics accessible to Gen Z through her project’s Instagram page and as her lessons are taught to her school’s students in the future.

Emma gained a strong sense of pride in her generation and confidence in their future. While empowering others, she empowered herself and learned she was capable of the strong leadership and creative activism she admires in other amazing students.

Thank you to everyone who supported me in such an immense project, from my friends who sat in the heat to register voters, to Damian and Anne for always answering my frantic emails, and the teachers at school for believing in the importance of my message and giving me a platform to share my passion.

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Eden Tillotson
Long Live the Monarchs

To educate on the monarch butterfly population, Eden created an informative presentation that was shared with a community in Mexico, local San Diego schools, and Girl Scout Troops. It includes information on monarch butterflies, a monarch art project, a “how to plant milkweed,” section, and an ornament inspired by monarchs to enable a family discussion on monarch conservation.

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Courtney Titus
Fun with Field Hockey

Courtney held clinics for elementary and middle school students to bring awareness about field hockey. She worked with the Field Hockey Coach from San Marcos High School and with USA Field Hockey for equipment donations. Her project lead to the formation of the non-profit Knights FHC, and now kids have the opportunity to play the sport year-round.

Courtney learned that with her passion, motivation, and determination, it is possible to make a difference in her community. Her program has laid the foundation to provide future opportunities for others to get excited and have knowledge about field hockey.

I would like to personally thank my project advisor Heidi Harris and my teammates for helping me work first hand with the participants at my clinic, and my family for supporting me throughout the entire process. Also, I would like to thank my Gold Award Committee mentor Judy Pritchett for guiding me during this amazing experience.

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Reshini Umesh
Introducing India and America

To address the lack of awareness of Indian culture in her community, Reshini held 24 workshops in San Diego that taught various aspects of Indian culture and facilitated two workshops in India that taught different aspects of American culture. The workshops in San Diego consisted of kids from ages 5-10 from the ESS programs in the PUSD district. The workshops done in India consisted of underprivileged children ages 6-16 years old. To sustain her project, each workshop presentation was sent to the schools she worked with so they could have the content to use for future presentations.

Reshini learned how to initiate and create a project by herself while simultaneously helping the community by broadening their perspectives and positively affecting their views. Working with the kids, she learned how to have better patience and communicate clearly. She also learned how to build better relationships and created solutions for various challenges that she faced during this process.

I would like to thank my project advisor, Hema Singh, and my Gold Award Committee mentor, Cora Long, for all the help throughout this whole project. I would also like to thank all the staff members and ESS supervisors at the schools I partnered with as they made working with kids much easier! Lastly, I would like to thank my parents and sister for their constant support. I definitely could not have done it without them!

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Anna Valades
Making 3D Printers More Accessible Through Education

Anna saw that the Elementary Institute of Science, an institution whose purpose is to teach STEM courses in a fun, interactive way, had four 3D printers but weren't using them because staff members didn't know how. She developed a STEM educational program by creating three different types of pamphlets and a website to help kids learn how to 3D print.

By completing her Gold Award, Anna learned to take initiative when encountering a problem and most importantly to follow through with the solution. She also learned how to work through new and unexpected obstacles to achieve her goal nevertheless.

I would like to thank Danika Garcia for giving me access to the 3D printers at the Elementary Institute of Science and for allowing me to help them. I would also like to thank Judy Pritchett for answering all of my doubts and concerns and for being such a helpful mentor.

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Crystalinda White
Voter Registration Awareness

Crystalinda hosted an educational workshop that taught youth how to register/pre-register to vote. She worked at her high school, church, and her Girl Scout troop in collaboration with the League of Women Voters San Diego. She also created a YouTube video that will be shown in future classes at her high school.

Crystalinda learned how to become a better leader to those who surround her and want to help her. In addition, sometimes she needs to focus on one thing at a time.

I want to thank my mentor Tiffany Chatham Smith, my volunteers Savannah Ashley and Isabella Miller, my political science teacher Breanna Prewitt, League of Women Voters San Diego and with them Jennifer Avina, my church First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego and my youth leader from there Kathe Larick, my Girl Scout Troop 8215, and anyone else who helped me achieve my Girl Scout Gold Award.

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Valerie Witham
Feeding Hearts, Souls and Mouths

To build a philanthropic youth program, Valerie organized and connected teens with volunteer opportunities to serve homeless, low-income, and food insecure populations.

She partnered with Salvation Army, Father Joe’s, San Diego Rescue Mission, St. Gregory Church, and Cathedral Catholic High School.

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Arden Woltman
Senior Smiles

To combat feelings of loneliness and isolation at assisted living facilities, Arden partnered with her local Brookdale Assisted Living Facility in Del Mar and St. John’s Catholic School in Encinitas to bridge the gap between kindergarten students and senior citizens. The students learned craft making and spent time with the seniors, creating a bond and a sense of belonging and community.

Arden learned that she can make a difference in the world around her by bringing people together. She had a personal and lasting effect on the Seniors as well as in the Kindergarten classes by changing the Seniors lives, and teaching the students that they can make a difference in someone's life, even if they are very young.

I would like to thank my mom for all of her support and guidance- always. I would like to thank Jennipher Harris, my advisor; and I would like to thank my Girl Scout community both in Orange County and San Diego. I have been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten, earning my Bronze, Silver, and now Gold Awards and this journey has truly made me the person I am today—a leader, a difference maker, and a strong, confident person!

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Madalyn Nguyen
Champion for STEM Diversity to Bridge the Gender Gap

Madalyn championed STEM Diversity by addressing girls’ underrepresentation and minorities in STEM. She founded the Society of Women Engineer Club at her school and was awarded $1,000 to create the FIRST Annual Girls in STEM Inspiration Day.  She facilitated and managed over 100 outreach activities, mentored 10 FIRST robotics teams, presented at conferences, and developed the FIRST Annual Women in STEM Day in Poway. Madalyn is a role model and advocate for girls in STEM locally and globally. 

Madalyn learned to take risks and to overcome fear and self-doubt. She developed persistence, grit, and to work through obstacles instead of giving up. She learned the value of teamwork, collaboration, diversity, and how to be an effective leader.

Thank you to my whole family for supporting me through this journey, to my Gold Award mentor Jennipher for helping me along the way, and to my Project Advisor, Ms. Stacy. A huge thanks to all who encouraged me to keep doing my best and helped me with all my endeavors.