Girl Scouts gave me the desire and the know-how to make the world a better place. But it isn’t always easy to find ways to help, even with so much out there that needs to be done.
At my high school, we didn’t have much guidance when it came to service-learning, though service learning hours are part of the graduation requirements. Instead, I had to rely on my mom, who researched opportunities with me on the internet. When I found out I wasn’t the only student feeling the lack of guidance, I decided to take action to make service learning opportunities easier to find.
I knew I had to think big. So for my Gold Award, I built a database of more than 50 partners offering service-learning opportunities and provided students at my school with guidance on how to match their interests to organizations that need support—which resulted in more service hours completed per student than before. I also created the World Changers Service Club, a group of young civic leaders like me who promote the true meaning of service-learning and undertake projects to help the community.
We did a few major service projects throughout the year focusing on educational equity and supporting homeownership for marginalized people—working both locally and globally. Our first, Project Dignity, addressed the issue of equal access to education for girls. We sent reusable menstrual kits to girls in Kenya to make sure they didn’t miss school as a result of their periods. And at home in North Carolina, we partnered with Tiny Houses Greensboro—a company that builds houses for families experiencing homelessness—to provide landscaping and gardening to beautify the grounds of Tiny House constructions.
I know the World Changers Service Club will keep going because I arranged for students behind me to take over, meaning students will continue to be matched to projects they’re interested in and community organizations will continue to get the support they need. On a personal level, finding my voice and empowering women through my work toward my Gold Award has been life changing. It is truly amazing to see the change I’m making in people’s lives. I even received the Volunteer of the Year award in my school district.
Being a Gold Award Girl Scout really can change your life. I received more than $300,000 in scholarships and was accepted by many of my top-choice colleges, and I’m sure that having the Gold Award on my resume and application was a big part of it! I’m currently at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a pre-nursing major. The fact that Girl Scouts really emphasizes improving the world around you and that service has been a big part of my Girl Scout experience inspired me to go into nursing. I hope to become a nurse practitioner and a leader in the nursing field where I can serve my community and change lives.
I’ve been a Girl Scout for 13 years, and it’s had a big impact on my life. I’ve created so many incredible bonds and learned so much, and Girl Scouts is so important, especially now, because it’s all about empowering each other and being leaders in our communities. We want a seat at the table.