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Kappa Delta Foundation Presents $50,000 to Girl Scout Gold Award Winners

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – The Kappa Delta Foundation presented 10 scholarships totaling $50,000 at a ceremony honoring National Gold Award Girl Scouts (formerly known as National Young Women of Distinction) on Oct. 11, 2018, in New York City.

To honor the accomplishments of the National Gold Award Girl Scouts — and for the 18th year in a row — the Kappa Delta Foundation provided a $5,000 college scholarship to each of the honorees. The checks were presented to the recipients by former Kappa Delta National President Alison Argersinger.

Since 1998, Kappa Delta collegians and alumnae nationwide have mentored girls and young women through local Girl Scout councils, volunteering more than 125,000 hours each year. Kappa Delta has also invested in Girl Scouts, granting more than $860,000 to support a variety of programs and scholarships.

The 10 remarkable young women receiving the award were selected for channeling their leadership, passion, work ethic and creativity toward discovering innovative solutions for today’s most pressing local, national and global issues.

The 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts were selected from thousands this year who earned their Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, and one that is only available to Girl Scouts. By designing and implementing extraordinary projects of measurable, sustainable and far-reaching impact, these girls demonstrate a steadfast commitment, as well as a stunning ability, to create true change.

The 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts exhibited business sense and an entrepreneurial mindset to help achieve their outcomes by using tactics such as raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding, working with politicians to create legislative change, and educating others. Their actions prove how girls are successful in their own right, how their financial decisions generate substantial economic impact, and how they are prepared to be our next generation of business leaders.

Meet GSUSA’s 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts

Caroline M. (Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York): Pollinators, like bees, are essential to New York’s agricultural industry and global food security, yet more than 450 species are threatened by habitat collapse and other environmental stressors. To protect pollinators, Caroline set up the first municipal solar pollinator gardens in her state. She also rallied political support for her food security efforts and environmental advocacy by working with her governor and other state officials to secure $300,000 in state funding for pollinator research and habitat development. In addition, Caroline helped create and advocate for legislation to develop guidelines for vegetation management plans to be used by persons or corporations that make claims they provide pollinator protection. The legislation, which passed both the New York State Senate and Assembly, is currently awaiting the signature of the governor to become law.

Haley W. (Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan): To address a lack of mental health knowledge and curricula in her state, Haley developed We Stand Together, a comprehensive, multi-level program that offers age-appropriate mental health education for students in grades K–12. Haley engaged 9,000 students and their families in lessons about topics ranging from stress management to suicide prevention, ultimately reaching 30,000 people, to bolster empathy and mental health awareness in her community. It is currently expanding to other school districts in Michigan and several other states.

Kelly C. (Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida): After learning that one in five teens will have permanent hearing loss by age 19 because of cell phone use, Kelly set out to protect teens from noise-induced hearing loss, a preventable form of hearing damage that cell phones cause. Working with the Ear Peace Foundation, she scripted, filmed and edited a video to train teachers on how to educate students about this issue. The video, Band Together to Protect Your Hearing, was used in teacher training workshops at 392 schools in Florida. Kelly expanded her public awareness campaign by creating posters and an informative brochure for distribution in schools, pediatric offices and hospitals.

Nikole R. (Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina): With a keen interest in the power of history and storytelling to unite people, Nikole decided to share the untold stories of local heroes with her broader community. To do so, she interviewed 29 veterans from diverse backgrounds and conflicts and compiled their stories into a four-hour documentary. By showcasing the veterans’ experiences, especially their struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, Nikole taught her peers about the sacrifices and severe mental and physical consequences of fighting for freedom. The documentary is now a permanent part of her community’s historical and archive center where it will continue to educate and inspire students of different races, backgrounds and beliefs for years to come.

Sakshi S. (Girl Scouts of Northern California): After learning about human rights violations around the world, Sakshi was moved to create Project GREET (Girl Rights: Engage, Empower, Train). She developed a documentary, website and YouTube interview series to engage and educate people about issues like gender equity, human trafficking and forced child marriages. Sakshi also wrote an extensive curriculum, “Guidelines to Rehabilitate Young Trafficked Girls,” as a tool for activist organizations and presented it at the United Nations’ 62nd Commission on the Status of Women.

Sarah M. (Girl Scouts of Central Texas): In some regions of the world, because girls lack basic menstrual health resources, they cannot attend school while having their periods and face a higher risk of infection. Sarah traveled to eight rural communities in Bolivia to organize workshops that teach girls, families and educators how to sew washable sanitary pads. In addition, she collected and donated gently used sewing machines; taught community members how to repurpose old materials, like umbrellas, to make pads; and educated girls about how to earn a sustainable income by selling reusable pads.

Selina N. (Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta): Selina launched GirlsFIRST Jr., a program that sparks girls’ curiosity in STEM through engaging hands-on activities in a supportive all-girl learning environment. With her sponsorships and the $5,000 she raised, Selina developed free workshops, coding seminars and other resources to promote girls’ education and innovation in science and technology. And through the 17 events she hosted worldwide, including three seminars in China, she reached over 7,000 girls ages 10–13, parents and educators. With her team, she also designed a STEM toolkit containing student activities, an instructive manual and videos on how to host STEM camps, and a STEM Storybook for elementary educators that is now available in six languages.

Shelby O. (Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast): Shelby founded the nonprofit Jr Ocean Guardians to combat waste and defend the environment. Initiating a movement called No Straw November, she encouraged people who don’t medically need a straw to reject unnecessary plastic straws during November because they’re a main source of ocean pollution. As a result of her advocacy, Shelby’s resolution proclaiming November to be No Straw November in California was approved by the state legislature. She also conducted a letter-writing campaign to executives at prominent corporations, convincing a leading airline to formally discontinue its use of nonrecyclable plastic straws and working with other companies to improve their sustainability practices. Shelby’s organization, with support from Girl Scout troops and notable environmental activists, has eliminated the use of millions of plastic straws and promoted reusable alternatives.

Susan S. (Girl Scouts of San Jacinto): Susan worked to promote literacy and primary school readiness for a town in Guatemala where children spoke a local Mayan dialect only rather than also speaking the country’s official language of Spanish. Illiteracy was often linked to difficult life outcomes, like dropping out of school and experiencing poverty. Susan partnered with Guatemala SANA, recruiting Spanish speakers to record children’s audiobooks, setting up a library and establishing regular language programs. Because of her efforts, over 400 children visit the library every month to listen to and read books, and most of them score at or above reading level in Spanish by the time they enter public school. By creating instructions on how to record and donate books, Susan also ensured that the library would continue to offer families effective educational tools.

Trinity W. (Girl Scouts Heart of the South): Recognizing the healing power of art therapy, Trinity set out to provide teen girls with mental illnesses and emotional challenges with a healthy way of coping. She organized the Note 2 Self Art Expression Workshop and Showcase, through which she developed materials that enhance mental health resources and social justice programs in her community. After raising $3,000 to fund her workshop, Trinity taught girls about art expression as a means of achieving mindfulness and supporting their mental well-being. At her showcase and through various social media platforms, she educated 1,500 people about teen mental health issues.

Kappa Delta Sorority is a national organization for women with more than 260,000 members, more than 500 chartered alumnae chapters and 169 active collegiate chapters.

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. The foundation is supported by member donations and bequests that fund programs and initiatives such as scholarships, internships, grants and more. Kappa Delta National Headquarters is in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.kappadelta.org/foundation.

Josie Ballin, 901.746.3647
josie.ballin@kappadelta.orgcreate new email