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Girl Scouts of the USA Announces the 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts, Who Innovate Sustainable Solutions for Pressing Issues Worldwide

Vlad Poptamas

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Today Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announces this year’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts, ten remarkable change-makers who channeled their leadership, passion, work ethic, and creativity toward discovering innovative solutions for ...
Reading Time: 8 minutes

 

These ten exceptional change-makers took action to improve their local, national, and global communities while earning Girl Scouts’ highest award

 

Today Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announces this year’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts (formerly known as the National Young Women of Distinction). These ten remarkable young women channeled their leadership, passion, work ethic, and creativity toward discovering innovative solutions for today’s most pressing local, national, and global issues. This year’s class tackled issues related to unnecessary plastic straws; human rights; mental health education; pollinator endangerment; menstrual health resources; art therapy; literacy; noise-induced hearing loss; girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and veteran visibility and appreciation.

The 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts were selected from thousands this year who earned their Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, and one that is only available to Girl Scouts. By designing and implementing extraordinary projects of measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact, these girls demonstrate a steadfast commitment, as well as a stunning ability, to create true change.

This year’s class of National Gold Award Girl Scouts will be honored on International Day of the Girl Child (on October 11), as their achievements tie in with this year’s United Nations’ theme of preparing girls for the world of work. Not only do the seven steps of a Gold Award project address a community or global problem—both in the short term and for years to come—but they also prepare girls to be leaders and hone skills that are important to all fields of work. The 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts exhibited business sense and an entrepreneurial mindset to help achieve their outcomes, such as by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding, working with politicians to create legislative change, and educating others. Their actions prove how girls are successful in their own right, how their financial decisions generate substantial economic impact, and how they are prepared to be our next generation of business leaders.

The October 11th celebration in New York City is made possible through generous support by the premier event sponsor, Toyota Financial Services. Through a multiyear partnership, Toyota Financial Services and GSUSA are helping girls become financially savvy leaders; obtain real-life, age-appropriate financial skills; and gain the tools necessary to make a positive influence in their communities.

The National Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive a combined $100,000 in college scholarships from Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors; a combined $50,000 in college scholarships from the Kappa Delta Foundation; and a combined $50,000 in college scholarships from Arconic Foundation. Applications for the distinction were reviewed by a panel of previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, leaders from a diverse array of fields, GSUSA executives, and a representative from the Kappa Delta Foundation.

“Our 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts demonstrate how girls are creating positive, sustainable change to improve their communities and the world,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “With their incredible aspirations, innovative problem solving, and risk-taking spirit, these girls are exactly the kind of employees 21st-century companies are looking for. They are well on their way to becoming the business leaders, activists, scientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and artists who will build our collective future. Earning the Gold Award also unlocks great opportunities for Girl Scouts, from getting into college and securing scholarships to entering the military one rank higher.”

Research verifies that participating in Girl Scouts and earning the Gold Award are linked to developing crucial leadership skills and advanced achievements. In addition to Girl Scouts being more than twice as likely than other girls to identify and solve problems in their communities, they over index when it comes to seeking challenges and learning from setbacks, having confidence in themselves and their leadership abilities, and forming and maintaining healthy relationships. The majority of women who earned their Gold Award display more positive life outcomes compared with women who did not participate in Girl Scouts in their youth, including being more optimistic about their future; seeing themselves as leaders; and being more civically engaged, particularly in politics.

Girl Scouts like the 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts will continue to defy expectations and act as outstanding change-makers. To join or volunteer with Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org/join.

Meet GSUSA’s 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scouts

Caroline M.—Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York

Pollinators, like bees, are essential to New York’s agricultural industry and global food security, yet more than 450 species are threatened by habitat collapse and other environmental stressors. To protect pollinators, Caroline set up the first municipal solar pollinator gardens in her state. As ideal pollinator habitats, these gardens located within solar arrays help secure local food sources. Caroline also rallied political support for her food security efforts and environmental advocacy. Working with her governor and other state officials, she secured $300,000 in state funding for pollinator research and habitat development. In addition, she helped create and advocate for legislation to develop guidelines for vegetation-management plans to be used by persons or corporations that claim to provide pollinator protection. The legislation, which passed both the New York State Senate and Assembly, is currently awaiting the governor’s signature to become law.

Haley W.—Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan

To address a lack of mental health knowledge and curricula in her state, Haley developed We Stand Together, a comprehensive, multi-level program that offers age-appropriate mental health education for students in grades K–12. Through this program and local partnerships, Haley engaged 9,000 students and their families in lessons about topics ranging from stress management to suicide prevention. Her innovative and interactive program ultimately reached 30,000 people, successfully bolstering empathy and mental health awareness in her community. It is currently expanding to other school districts in Michigan and several other states.

Kelly C.—Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida

A massive 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and one in five teens in the United States now has NIHL by age 19 due to their exposure to damaging levels of sound from personal audio devices and noisy entertainment venues. Kelly set out to inform teens, parents, and educators about this permanent, yet preventable, form of hearing damage. Working with Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing Foundation, she scripted, filmed, and edited an educational video, Band Together to Protect Your Hearing, which is used in the foundation’s teacher training workshops for 392 schools in Miami-Dade County. She has educated elementary and high school students about hearing conservation, presented on this topic at a statewide music educator’s conference, and presented to 125 teachers at a professional development workshop. Kelly has also created and distributed educational posters and informative brochures to pediatric offices and hospitals statewide. She plans to expand this distribution to a nationwide campaign.

Nikole R.—Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina

With a keen interest in the power of history and storytelling to unite people, Nikole decided to share the untold stories of local heroes with her broader community. To do so, she interviewed 29 veterans from diverse backgrounds and conflicts and compiled their stories into a four-hour documentary. By showcasing the veterans’ experiences, especially their struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, Nikole taught her peers about the sacrifices and severe mental and physical consequences of fighting for freedom. The documentary, Our Veteran Stories: FOREVER Live Our Dorchester County Heroes, is now a permanent part of her community’s historical and archive center as well as the South Carolina State Museum’s library, where it will continue to educate and inspire students of different races, backgrounds, and beliefs for years to come.

Sakshi S.—Girl Scouts of Northern California 

Working with Amnesty International and Girls Learn International, Sakshi learned about gender-based violence and was inspired to tackle the issues of human trafficking and child marriage. Sakshi created Project GREET (Girl Rights: Engage, Empower, Train) in which she designed, created, and distributed documentary films, a training curriculum, a website, and a YouTube playlist to engage and educate audiences on these topics. The materials address root causes, statistics, misconceptions, warning signs, and community actions to stop trafficking and child marriage. Sakshi also wrote an extensive curriculum, “Guidelines to Rehabilitate Young Trafficked Girls,” a tool for activist organizations to set up vocational training programs for girls who are at risk of being trafficked or were previously trafficked. Working with 35 partner organizations, Sakshi’s films have been screened in over 59 locations in 15 countries. She also presented Project GREET materials at the United Nations’ 62nd Commission on the Status of Women, where she discussed child marriage; trafficking-prevention laws; and cultural practices with ambassadors, activists, and survivors.

Sarah M.—Girl Scouts of Central Texas

In some regions of the world, girls can miss up to 20 percent of school a year during their periods because of the high cost or lack of menstrual products, such as sanitary pads. Sarah traveled to rural Bolivia, where she organized eight workshops that taught girls, families, and educators how to sew washable pads. She also raised funds to donate new sewing machines and taught community members how to repurpose other materials, such as umbrellas, to make pads. Sarah’s efforts, which focused on sustainable community involvement, helped hundreds of girls gain access to affordable menstrual resources so they can continue with their education uninterrupted.

Selina N.—Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

Selina launched GirlsFIRST Jr., a program that sparks girls’ curiosity in STEM through engaging, hands-on activities in a supportive, all-girl learning environment. With her sponsorships and the $5,000 she raised, Selina developed free workshops, coding seminars, and other resources to promote girls’ education and innovation in science and technology. And through the 17 events she hosted worldwide, including three seminars in China, she reached over 7,000 girls ages 10–13, parents, and educators. With her team, she also designed a STEM toolkit containing student activities, an instructive manual and videos on how to host STEM camps, and a STEM Storybook for elementary educators available in six languages.

Shelby O.—Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast

Shelby founded the nonprofit Jr Ocean Guardians to combat waste and defend the environment. Initiating a movement called No Straw November, she encouraged people who don’t medically need a straw to reject unnecessary plastic straws during November, because they’re a main source of ocean pollution. As a result of her advocacy, Shelby’s resolution proclaiming November to be No Straw November in California was approved by the state legislature. She also conducted a letter-writing campaign to executives at prominent corporations, convincing a leading airline to formally discontinue its use of nonrecyclable plastic straws and working with other companies to improve their sustainability practices. Shelby’s organization, with support from Girl Scout troops and notable environmental activists, has eliminated the use of millions of plastic straws and promoted reusable alternatives.

Susan S.—Girl Scouts of San Jacinto

Susan learned about a town in Guatemala where children spoke a local Mayan dialect only, rather than also speaking the country’s official language of Spanish. These children struggled in primary school, and their illiteracy was often linked to difficult life outcomes, like dropping out of school and experiencing poverty. To promote literacy and primary school readiness, Susan partnered with Guatemala SANA, recruiting Spanish speakers to record children’s audiobooks, setting up a library, and establishing regular language programs. Because of her efforts, over 400 children visit the library every month to listen to and read books, and most of them score at or above reading level in Spanish by the time they enter public school. By creating instructions on how to record and donate books and teaching members of a local school dropout-prevention program how to record the books, Susan also ensured that the library would continue to offer families effective educational tools.

Trinity W.—Girl Scouts Heart of the South

Recognizing the healing power of art therapy, Trinity set out to help teen girls with mental illnesses and emotional challenges learn healthy ways of coping. She organized the Note 2 Self Art Expression Workshop and Showcase, through which she developed materials that enhance mental health resources and social justice programs in her community. After raising $3,000 to fund her workshop, Trinity taught girls about art expression as a means of achieving mindfulness and supporting their mental well-being. At her showcase and through various social media platforms, she educated 1,500 people about teen mental health issues.

We’re Girl Scouts of the USA
We’re 2.6 million strong—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.

Editor - With a passion photo photography, webdesign and content, it made sense for me to also integrate news editing and press release publishing. I am also passionate about the car industry, so you will surely find some exciting news reporting from my side about the automotive industry.

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Art

The Biggest Contest in the World of Photography: An AGORA images Contest

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: bhphotovideo.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The world’s greatest photo of the year will win $25,000 in the AGORA Awards 2019

On January 4th the biggest international photography contest will open for submissions. The winner of this year-long contest stands to take away $25,000 for a single image. What’s more, anyone from anywhere in the world can participate with their best shots, for free.

Photographers of all levels can participate simply by downloading the free app on the Apple Store or Google Play and can upload as many of their best photos as they like to the contest once it is launched. In the fall of 2019 50 finalists will be announced, after which the AGORA community will vote for their favorite shot to determine who wins. The AGORA Awards 2019 winner will be announced in November during an offline ceremony and streamed live to the rest of the world.

With the Awards, AGORA images is disrupting the world of photography; proposing, unlike others, a photo contest with no categories. For this reason the contest will reveal the year’s top visual trend, and thus forth every year in the contests to come. Aiming for global photographic democracy, the app values everyone’s unique point of view, allowing the international community of millions to participate and later vote for their favorite image. As Octavi Royo, CEO and co-founder, puts it: “What we are doing in AGORA and in the Awards is starting a creative revolution. We believe everyone has the chance to win with their best photo.”

The world’s greatest images in AGORA photo contests

AGORA images has already awarded a total of over $50,000 through its photo contests. The app launches contests weekly, giving the 52 weeks of the year a theme such as #Love, #Eyes, #Travel and #Landscape. With over 2 million users in 193 countries and over 6 million photos uploaded, the photography app is rapidly becoming the place to participate in the curation of the world’s best visual content.

For more information download the app, visit the website and check out the Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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Awards

Datamatics Recognized as the Best Cognitive Technology Provider by Computer Society of India, Mumbai

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Datamatics Global Services Ltd. (DGSL), a global IT & BPM company, announced today that it has been recognized as the Best Cognitive Technology Provider of the Year 2018 at IT Innovation & Excellence Awards by Computer Society of India, Mumbai.

Datamatics is recognized for its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) product, TruBot which helped a leading bank in India to automate their credit limit extension process. Datamatics TruBot enabled the client to automate an end-to-end complex, repetitive, and error prone process of Cash Credit and Overdraft Facility limit extension that has a high impact on end-customer credibility. The automation helped the client to execute all credit limit extensions in real time with 100% accuracy.

Commenting on the occasion, Mitul Mehta – SVP & Head-Marketing & Communications, Datamatics Global Services Ltd., said, “TruBot has enabled numerous banks in India and around the world to automate several critical processes across retails assets, retails liabilities, global trade services, corporate banking and direct banking. We are happy to be recognized as the best cognitive technology provider by Computer Society of India.”

Datamatics TruBot is a versatile, multi-skilled bot that automates a range of repetitive and rule-based processes without any manual intervention. TruBot has 95 customers globally and has automated more than 800 processes across multiple industries including Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing and Healthcare.

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Alternative Energies

Greengate Power’s 113 MW Stirling Wind Project in Alberta Awarded 20-Year Contract by AESO

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: stirlingwind.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Greengate Power Corporation (“Greengate”) is pleased to announce that its 113 MW Stirling Wind Project (“Stirling Wind”) was awarded a 20-year Renewable Electricity Support Agreement (“RESA”) by the Alberta Electric System Operator (“AESO”). Stirling Windis jointly-owned by Greengate, Potentia Renewables Inc. (“Potentia”) and Paul First Nation with Potentia owning a majority interest. With the award of this key contract, the project is expected to be under construction in the near future.

Stirling Wind is located in the County of Warner No.5 and Lethbridge County approximately 30 km southeast of the City of Lethbridge. Located on a large plateau of cultivated and grazing land, the project has an excellent wind resource which is among the best in Alberta. Under the terms of the RESA, Stirling Wind will receive a guaranteed price for all the power it produces for a period of 20 years.

“The Stirling Wind Project is among the first successful renewable energy project partnerships between industry and a first nations community in Alberta. We applaud the Government of Alberta for the continued success of its Renewable Electricity Program which is delivering long-term, low-cost clean power for Albertans,” said Dan Balaban, President and Chief Executive Officer of Greengate. “Stirling is the third wind energy project successfully developed by Greengate in Alberta and demonstrates Greengate’s continued leadership in Alberta’s fast-growing renewable energy sector. We look forward to completing Stirling with our partners so that its social, economic and environmental benefits can be realized by all involved.”

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