Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Girl Scout Alums Shine During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In addition to all the amazing women we’re celebrating throughout Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’re calling out some of the incredible Girl Scouts who are making a mark and effecting positive change in the world around them.

After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Sadhana Anantha realized that many kids aren’t able to see the connection between science and global issues. To help educate them, she worked with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to create a lab simulation that introduces kids to clinical science. Her simulation is now a recurring exhibit at the museum.

When Annie Cai learned about the gap between what students learn and what the career world requires, she developed Imaginarium, a career-development conference for teens. Through the program, students strengthen their public-speaking and entrepreneurial skills, helping knit their education and real-world expectations together.

Hanna Chuang credits her experience as a Girl Scout with introducing her to the importance of community service. In this spirit, she mobilized her classmates to help build a community center in rural Bhutan. Because of her work, residents are able to take English lessons, learn computer skills, and develop tactics for running independent businesses. Hanna’s work is influencing the lives of thousands of families. 

While spending a month in India, Pooja Nagpal took her passions for practicing martial arts and preventing violence against women from advocacy to action. After developing a two-part curriculum that combines physical self-defense methods with discussions and activities, she created For a Change, Defend, a nonprofit that teaches teenage girls how to stand up for themselves and work to eliminate gender violence. From rural villages in India to women’s shelters in Los Angeles, Pooja’s organization is saving lives and empowering girls and women across the globe.

Although Varsha Sathappan visited her grandparents in India every year as a child, it wasn’t until her teen years that she became aware of the disparity between her life as an American and the lives of her peers in India. After a friend died giving birth, Varsha dedicated herself to improving healthcare for the community of Kodikottai in Southern India. After years of work, she strengthened the local clinic so that more people can be examined, be treated, and live healthier lives.

Observations that Liza Villanueva made as a seven-year-old visiting the Philippines stayed with her throughout her Girl Scout career. Those memories inspired her Gold Award project, the iDREAM (imagination, discovery, research, education, art, and music) Express. Loaded with school supplies, instruments, books, tablets, and a team of volunteer teachers, the iDREAM Express van holds classes twice a week for homeless children in the Philippines and also provides free hygiene supplies, medical care, and hot meals.

There’s no question that these young women each lead like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, and we’re proud to salute them during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!