Here at Girl Scouts, we believe education is one of the most powerful tools used to unlock our future. It can be the key to ending gender discrimination, supporting those with disabilities, or keeping our bodies healthy and well. Today, we are sharing with you three stories of Gold Award Girl Scouts who use education to change the world while earning the most prestigious award in Girl Scouting.
For many, books can help validate one’s identity and experience and provide a view into other people’s lives. However, when libraries and bookstores lack representation and accessibility of LGBTQIA+ media, this deficiency contributes to a lack of empathy and bias in our communities. Girl Scout and Gold Award recipient, Q Licht, tackled this issue head-on by creating The Purple Sticker Project, an organization to make books and other media with positive LGBTQIA+ representation more accessible to K-12 students.
“I originally got the idea for this project after noticing that several bookstores I visited did not have a lot of books with positive LGBTQIA+ representation and that those books were usually on the top or bottom shelves,” says Licht.
Licht addressed this problem by first creating a list of LGBTQIA+ media. Next, Licht designed stickers that easily and discreetly identify this media in a school library. The stickers—a purple square on a white circle—are distinctive yet inconspicuous, so that students can access LGBTQIA+ positive books, movies, TV shows, and music without fear of others knowing.
Our next Gold Award recipient, Esmeralda Romero, was inspired by her own experience as a person with autism to create outreach materials connecting people in her community to helpful resources and opportunities. Romero’s project titled Keeping Kids Healthy, aimed to help parents of children with disabilities find sporting opportunities for their children to safely play.
Through her research, Romero found six local sports teams for children with mental and physical disabilities to play a range of sports over the course of 11 months.
However, Romero didn’t stop there. Romero says she taught “kids how important it is to eat healthy and stay active. To help kids like me that have autism and Intellectual disabilities.”
For our last Gold Award recipient, Vanessa Castrejon, maintaining oral hygiene is an important cause to her. In her project, titled Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums, Castrejon created bilingual educational videos to teach others about oral hygiene.
“Some topics my video covers are periodontal disease, gingivitis, calculus, bone loss, how to brush your teeth as well as floss and other important information in order to achieve healthy teeth and gums.”
To increase her audience reach, Castrejon partnered with Community Health Center Dental Clinic, to use her videos so patients will be better informed about oral hygiene.
Castrejon says from her Gold Award Project she learned that “When something isn’t going according to plan, never give up and find ways around those obstacles.” We could not agree more! Perseverance is a useful skill, and we are excited to see where all her achievements at Girl Scouts will take Castrejon on her journey at Arizona State University this fall.
For more information about the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts are creating positive change within their communities, visit here.