October 31, 2019
MEMPHIS, Tennessee — On Oct. 11, 2019, Girl Scouts of the USA presented National Gold Awards to 10 deserving girls on the International Day of the Girl at Microsoft’s flagship store in New York City. Former Kappa Delta National President Alison Argersinger attended on behalf of the Kappa Delta Foundation to present $50,000 in scholarships to the honorees.
The recipients were selected for creating innovative and sustainable solutions for today’s most pressing issues. They were chosen this year from those Girl Scouts who earned their Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.
Representatives from Kappa Delta participated in the rigorous application review process along with previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, GSUSA staff and national volunteer partners, representatives from the Arconic Foundation and leaders from a diverse array of fields.
Ana D. — Combatting Racism in Education
Girl Scouts of San Diego
The lack of diverse perspectives in education contributes to institutional racism and a system of oppression. When Ana realized her high school was made up of more than 80% of students of color and yet offered no clubs or courses that celebrated diverse cultural identities, she developed the school’s first ethnic studies course. By focusing on historical oppression, marginalized groups and one another’s cultures, the students were exposed to powerful activists and change-makers with whom they could identify. Students were taught to identify injustice historically and in their own lives and were empowered and unified to change it. Ana also ran seminars for educators about culturally responsive teaching to include the perspectives and experiences of people of color in every school subject, effectively combatting racism in education.
Grace G. — Food Deserts
Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Over 23 million peopleopens PDF file in the United States live in food deserts, where access to affordable, healthy food options is limited or nonexistent. After Grace created a new breed of chicken — the Goodpasture Breed — to provide a heartier food source, she expanded her impact by educating her community about the importance of farm-to-table living and healthier food sources by teaching how to hatch, care for and raise chickens. Grace’s curriculum, which includes a mobile chicken tractor, became the statewide standard for teaching agriculture in the classroom.
Isabella M. — Representation of Indigenous Peoples
Girl Scouts of Orange County
A member of the Cahuilla tribe, actress and storyteller Isabella struggled to find roles on the stage that fit her own experiences. To address the lack of indigenous peoples’ representation in the U.S. media and cultural narrative, Isabella wrote, directed and performed in a play about missing and murdered indigenous women. Her fellow actors included Native American tribal members and community participants, whom she brought together through workshops which not only exposed them to the art of performance, but also to traditional stories and the need for activism that addresses social injustices for indigenous peoples.
Kai Z. — Access to Music Education
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida
Despite the fact that music education is imperative to students’ academic and social-emotional growth, Kai noticed it was scarce in her Florida county — so she took action by creating an orchestra for low-income minority students at a local middle school. To ensure no one was left out of her program, Kai even fitted a prosthetic hand to a violin to enable a student without a left hand to play it. Kai presented results to the school board about the positive socio-emotional impact on the students, and the school is now offering orchestra for the first time as an official class.
Lauren V. — Mental Health of Cancer Patients
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri
Recognizing that cancer is a traumatic diagnosis for millions of people worldwide, Lauren addressed the mental and emotional health of cancer patients and their caregivers by collecting and delivering thousands of letters with messages of hope. The letters forge connections among patients, survivors and caregivers as they share experiences, concerns and hope for the future — ultimately reducing stress and improving mental, and potentially physical, health. To increase her reach, Lauren taught hundreds of students cancer etiquette and letter-writing skills, developed an interactive website for people to write or request a letter and authored and distributed a book, Stories of Hope: Be the Light, which includes 10 families’ stories and advice to inspire those affected by cancer.
Mary Katherine F. — Ocean Pollution
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
Sunscreen is one of the biggest causes of coral bleaching, which affects oceans, aquatic wildlife and worldwide food security. Mary Katherine educated thousands on the topic by creating a public awareness campaign to curb the release of chemical-containing sunscreen into oceans. Through her advocacy, she convinced Biscayne National Park, the location of the third-largest coral reef in the world, to discontinue selling chemical-containing sunscreens. Additionally, scientists used Mary Katherine’s infographic detailing the effect of sunscreen on coral reefs to successfully ban chemical-containing sunscreen in Hawaii, influencing change at the state level.
Megan L. — Girls in STEM
Girl Scouts of Orange County
Megan addressed the underrepresentation of women in technology careers by forming GEARup4Youth, a nonprofit that supports girls’ interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while encouraging them to pursue related career paths. She initiated the first girls-only robotics classes at local Boys & Girls Clubs and partnered with over 200 organizations — from national STEM groups and the LA County of Education to children’s museums and public libraries — to host presentations, family STEM events and expos about her technology curriculum. She also published a book, Easy STEM Activities You Can Do at Home!, which reached a broad audience and stimulated more girls’ interests in STEM.
Minely M. — Legal Rights for the Deaf
Girl Scouts of Caribe
To advance equality for deaf citizens in Puerto Rico, who are often isolated and segregated because of their different abilities, Minely worked with legislators to draft and submit a bill that would add a symbol indicating deafness on people’s driver’s licenses. The symbol allows deaf people the means to communicate to any public or private service in addition to the rights the law already grants them. Minely also created a virtual course to teach basic sign language to Puerto Rican police officers so they can more easily communicate with people of all abilities.
Phoebe W. — LGBTQ+ Representation
Girl Scouts of Western Washington
It can be difficult for LGBTQ+ teens to find examples of experiences relatable to their own lives because of a lack of representation in literature and media. To address this, Phoebe founded Glitterary Magazine, an online literary magazine that publishes work written both by and for LGBTQ+ youth. The magazine celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ+ spectrum across many genres, validating readers’ lived experiences. Glitterary also receives readership in over 40 countries — including in nations where people are persecuted for being LGBTQ+ — filling a worldwide gap of representation in literature and digital media to counter homophobia and heteronormativity.
Taryn-Marie J. — Higher Education for Foster Care Youth
Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay
Less than 10% of youth in foster care transition to college because they face roadblocks such as a lack of adequate support, resources and a solid foundation. Taryn tackled this issue by creating a web playbook and brochure featuring links to relevant agencies, advocates and organizations that foster care youth can reach out to for help as they transition to college. She conducted surveys and interviews with transitioned foster care youth, foster parents and school counselors to inform her materials and share advocate voices. She also collected and distributed “college kits” and funding to support these individuals so they can pursue higher education, including items such as linens, gift cards and a suggested to-do list, as well as a compilation of inspirational quotes for encouragement.
The Kappa Delta Foundation has provided more than $476,000 in scholarships to National Gold Award Girl Scouts since 2000. Kappa Delta Sorority collegians and alumnae mentor girls and young women through local Girl Scout councils, volunteering more than 125,000 hours each year.
Established in 1981, the Kappa Delta Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to secure funds for the educational, leadership and charitable purposes of Kappa Delta Sorority, a national organization for women with more than 271,000 members, 168 active collegiate chapters, and more than 224 alumnae chapters nationwide. The foundation is supported by member donations and bequests that fund programs and initiatives including scholarships, internships and grants. Kappa Delta is active in many philanthropic endeavors, including the prevention of child abuse in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America and confidence-building programming with Girl Scouts of the USA. In 2009, the sorority created the Confidence Coalition to promote confidence in girls and women. In 2010, Kappa Delta established International Girls Day to empower girls to reach their potential. It also created International Women’s Friendship Month for women everywhere. Kappa Delta’s national headquarters is in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.kappadelta.org.