Lake Worth, FL October 8, 2019 – In preparation for International Day of the Girl on October 11, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida (GSSEF) is proud to announce that Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) named Kai Zaragoza a 2019 National Gold Award Girl Scout—one of ten teen activists and change-makers who created innovative and sustainable solutions for today’s most pressing issues and is being honored with the organization’s highest distinction. A member of Troop 10700 from Pembroke Pines, Kai is a junior at American Heritage High School. She also serves as a Girl Advisory Member of the GSSEF Board of Directors.
Despite the fact that music education is imperative to students’ academic and social-emotional growth, Kai noticed that it was scarce in Broward County—so she took action by creating an orchestra for low-income minority students at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School. To ensure no one was left out of her program, Kai even fitted a prosthetic hand to a violin to enable a student without a left hand to play it. Kai presented results to the school board about the positive socio-emotional impact on the students, and the school is now offering orchestra for the first time as an official class.
“Girl Scouts like Kai make the world a better place every day and will continue to defy expectations and act as bold advocates for a brighter future,” said Lisa Johnson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida. “Kai and her fellow National Gold Award Girl Scouts are creating ambitious ways to lead the way and transform the world.”
Fueled by passion, persistence, and a resistance to accept the status quo, the National Gold Award Girl Scouts were selected from an impressive pool of this year’s Gold Award Girl Scouts nationwide for their extraordinary leadership and ability to develop lasting solutions—and achieve remarkable results—for critical issues in their communities and beyond. Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award not only change the world for the better, they change it for good.
“This year’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts have truly distinguished themselves as visionary leaders,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “In a time when an increasing number of young people are using their voices to come together and take action, these girls stand out. They have made an incredible impact in the worlds of STEM, education, agriculture, the environment, civil rights, and beyond. While they are making the world a better place, they are also investing in themselves; Gold Award Girl Scouts are more likely to earn college scholarships and achieve higher education and career outcomes, and they can enlist in the military at a higher pay grade. We’re proud to support Girl Scouts across the country as they drive meaningful and lasting change in their communities and beyond.”
National Gold Award Girl Scout nominations underwent a rigorous multi-round review process. Finalist applications were reviewed by a panel of previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, leaders from a diverse array of fields, GSUSA staff, National Volunteer partners, and representatives from the Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation. This year’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive a combined $100,000 in college scholarships from Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of a women’s leadership development organization and a former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors. The Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation also each generously contributed $50,000 in college scholarships for the 2019 cohort.
About Girl Scouts
For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has built girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. More than any other organization in our community, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida empowers girls ages 5 to 17 with vision and voice—girls who command their future, engage their communities and inspire others.
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is committed to meeting the needs of today’s girls by providing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience that will help her develop skills and create a strong foundation for future success. Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida serves more than 10,000 girls in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties. To explore opportunities to volunteer or partner with Girl Scouts, call 561-427-0177 or visit www.gssef.org.