Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spotlight on National Young Woman of Distinction, Paige Young

The National Young Women of Distinction honor is given by Girl Scouts of the USA to ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose Take Action projects demonstrated outstanding leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The girls and their projects will be showcased on the Girl Scout Blog in advance of being honored at the 2014 national convention in Salt Lake City this October.

Paige Young: Hope for Haiti
Age: 17
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Years of Girl Scouting: 13


Three summers ago, Paige decided to do something different than most of her friends for summer vacation and joined the Global Orphan Project, an international orphan care organization, on a mission trip to Haiti. She was surprised to see how joyful these children could be in the face of such great poverty (Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere). She was inspired to help. After doing a little extra research about the needs of the people and country, Paige took action.

How Paige is Changing the World:

With the help of the Global Orphan Project, Paige designed “Hope for Haiti,” a program targeting several areas of Haitian life in need of improvement, including education and the environment. Hope for Haiti began at Paige’s home, where she made 80 backpacks out of hospital blue sterile wrap saved from a nearby landfill. Partnering with the CEO of a nearby medical center, Paige ensured the wrap could be continually provided. Then, she hosted four sewing days before filling the resulting backpacks with supplies and delivering them to Haiti.

To take her project a step further, Paige traveled again to Haiti herself. In order to teach locals how to make and distribute the backpacks themselves, Paige set up a sewing center. The center was a major success. Since she left, the women have continued to open the center every Monday. And after a year, the program merged into the Pathways program, providing older orphans with vocational education.

Paige realized that helping people means working with them, not for them. Paige did exactly that, helping people develop skills on their own, and at the same time, improving her own. Her success so far with Hope for Haiti has proved that it has the potential to be a powerful international movement.

Next Steps:

Paige is attending the University of Missouri this fall, studying International Peace and Conflicts studies. She is hoping to join the Peace Corps following college. Girl Scouts will honor Paige and her fellow National Young Women of Distinction on Sunday, October 19 at our 2014 Girl Scout Convention.