Friday, June 8, 2012

Girl Scout Leaders and Gold Award Recipients Meet with President Obama

Today, Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez, National President Connie Lindsey, and eight outstanding Girl Scout Gold Award recipients from across the country presented President Obama with the Girl Scouts National Report, and met with him on the pressing issues impacting girls everywhere.

At the meeting in the Oval Office, Chávez stressed the urgent needs of girls, and the importance of mentorship ToGetHerThere - to achieve balanced leadership within a generation.

“Our Girl Scout Gold Award recipients who met the president today are the embodiment of girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place,” said Chávez. “It’s critical we continue to inform our national leaders on the urgent needs of all girls across the country, and stress that together, we can achieve balanced leadership within a generation."

In addition to the meeting with the president, the Girl Scouts also met with senior staff at the White House about their Gold Award projects. Below are descriptions of the attendees and their projects.

Lynoris Latham: Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi

Lynoris is a senior attending St. Mount Salus Christian School in Clinton, Mississippi. She plays on the St. Mount Salus ladies basketball team. Her team won the 2012 MAIS State Division A Championship. Lynoris is also a member of the St. Mount Salus Student Government Association. She attends Blacks Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Lynoris Latham's Gold Award take action project “No Bullies in Our Zone" focused on educating kids in K-4 on the concepts of bullying. Through presentations and assignments each class created a poster that illustrated how bullying affected them. Additionally they were given handouts on recognizing and dealing with bullies. With the 5th and 6th graders, she focused on cyber bullying. She is proud to go from being someone who was bullied to someone who represents the saying, “Bullying is NOT ok and bullying must end!"

Lindsay McNary: Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri

Lindsay McNary a recent graduate of Sabetha High School in Sabetha, Kansas has been a Girl Scout for 13 years as a member of Troop #7221. In the fall, she will be attending Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. For her Gold Award take action project, Lindsay tackled the importance of teens drinking and driving. Lindsay pulled her entire community together for an unexpected and powerful reenactment. With support from the local emergency response team, hospital, and even Life Star, medical helicopter service, Lindsay provided a visual demonstration that would affect change in behavior and last a lifetime.

Serina Pack: Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest

Serina Pack, a High School Senior from Cliff, New Mexico, is an honor student interested in addressing societal concerns relating to children’s literacy programs and the environment. She plans to study Environmental Sustainability and Psychology with the long-term goal of completing her PhD. For her Girl Scouts Gold Award take action project, Serina created CLIMB, a literacy program in elementary schools and the APPLE Foundation. APPLE is an acronym for “A Plan to Promote Literacy Everywhere!” Its purpose: Motivate and inspire children to be good readers and encourage teens to become mentors and take up the cause to address the low literacy levels in our country. More than 5000 used books, 1500 reading workbooks, and 2000 new books, with estimated value of over $15,000, have been collected and distributed in southwestern United States and Mexico. Thousands of additional books continue to be exchanged through free “Take-A-Book Leave-A-Book” and “Adopt a Box” locations now established in southwestern United States. With the creation of two websites and a comprehensive manual, the project continues to expand. Through community booths, publications, extensive radio PSA campaigns, T.V. appearances, and numerous presentations, Serina continues to spread the awareness of literacy concerns facing our country, with more than 700 service hours over three years dedicated to this work.

Krystal Shirrell: Girl Scouts of Central Indiana

Krystal Shirrell, a 2012 graduate of Brownsburg High School, will be an honors student at the University of Iowa this fall majoring in Pharmacy and playing Division I softball for the Hawkeyes. Krystal has been a Girl Scout for 13 years participating in various community service activities since the age of 5. Krystal’s Gold Award take action project VET Support is contributing to the White House initiative to support our military and the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs initiative to end homelessness among veterans. Krystal’s passion and desire to serve those who have served has resulted in: over 300 blankets; more than 5,000 supplies collected to help meet needs of the VA Domiciliary; over 10,000 additional items collected resulting in 525 care packages sent to our soldiers in Afghanistan and numerous boxes of items donated to the VA Medical Center, the Domiciliary, and the Veterans House; 107 Christmas trees decorated and sent to troops in Afghanistan, 30 trees to the Veterans House and each resident at the VA Domiciliary received a tree; over 13,500 thank you coloring sheets have been given to veterans, soldiers and wounded warriors; and most recently during a three day collection drive, 1,481 items were collected and shipped to Walter Reed in Bethesda for Krystal to distribute while visiting with the wounded warriors during a trip to Washington, D.C.

Adriana Camille Caban Urena: Girl Scouts of Caribe Council

Adriana recently graduated from San Carlos high school in Aguadilla, PR and has been accepted at the University of Mayaguez where she will pursue a Bachelors Degree in Accounting with a minor in Political Science. She later intends to complete a degree in Environmental Law. Adriana’s Gold Award take action project titled “Green Harmony” was born as a response to environmental enhancement through recycling. She created a “Recyclable Materials Deposit Center” in her neighborhood and held an orientation for local residents on the importance of recycling and its impact on our society/environment. Additionally, she formed an environmental group called “ARENUAM” (Friends of our environment to the rescue) at the neighborhood elementary school. The group composed of elementary school students, teachers and senior citizens is responsible for group discussions and creating campaigns directed at “improving and caring for our environment”.

Neliana Ferraro: Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts

Neliana is a recent Minnechaug Regional High School graduate. Neliana served as a member of the Girl Scout Board of Directors of Central and Western Massachusetts. She has earned her Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award. In the fall, she will be attending Quinnipiac University to study broadcast journalism. Her goal is become a newscaster and possibly dabble in politics. For her Gold Award take action project, Neliana created a remembrance to honor heroes and victims of the tragedies of September 11th. Neliana invited speakers to her high school and made a 16 minute documentary of everything that happened on 9/11 from the Twin Towers, to the Pentagon, to the crash of Flight 93. She feels it is very important for everyone to remember 9/11.

Satomi Honjiyo: Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

Satomi Honjiyo has been in Girl Scouting since Kindergarten as a Daisy. Satomi Honjiyo has earned both her Bronze and Silver Award. In the fall, she will attend Temple University in Tokyo, Japan. Her studies will continue to support her interest in encouraging positive cross-cultural experiences. As a Japanese American, Satomi was very interested in the Internment Camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. For her Gold Award take action project, .Satomi chose to use the documentary, “Stand up for Justice” a true story about a Hispanic teen that went with his Japanese American friends to the Internment Camps. After showing groups the film she moderated a discussion session to talk about personal experiences and feelings on making unpopular decisions. She presented and led the discussion to different audiences including her local library, a community college, and Girl Scout troops.

Joslyn Simmons-Girl Scouts of Gateway Council

Sixteen year old Joslyn Nicole Simmons is from Jacksonville, FL. and will be a junior at Sandalwood High School. A member of Girl Scout Troop 143 at Gateway Council, Joslyn has received the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Inspired by the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, Joslyn’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, Sports 4 Life, addressed childhood obesity by getting children to make more nutritious meal choices and participate in recreational activities. Joslyn used the US Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate model for nutritional education and engaged community support to generate donations of sports equipment for local children. Joslyn plans to attend Florida State University and major in Journalism and become a Sports Journalist with ESPN.