Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 326 girls who earned a Gold Award this year. First, an exclusive pinning ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center on June 8 recognized each girls’ amazing achievements.
Later that evening, nearly 400 Los Angeles influencers joined girls for GSGLA’s inaugural Gold Award Gala at Westfield Century City. The event raised $415,000 for critical Girl Scout programs in Greater Los Angeles—including outreach to girls in underserved communities and innovative STE(A)M programs—all with the goal of ensuring that more girls have the opportunity to earn Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Nationally, only 6 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award rank. Girls who earn it qualify for college scholarships, additional national service awards, and more.
At the Gala, business and civic leaders met with young women face-to-face through a series of speed-networking sessions moderated by New York Times-Bestselling author Jennifer Kushell—founder and CEO of Exploring Your Potential.
The girls and guests made key connections, and some guests offered a helping hand for Gold Award projects. Among the many connections made: Compton Girl Scout Genetha C.—whose Gold Award project included teaching South LA girls and homeless women how to create reusable sanitary napkins—met with Helen Yenser, executive producer of the Oscar-winning documentary Period. End of Sentence, which also addresses the stigma around menstruation and lack of access to sanitary pads for marginalized women.
Other supportive guests included gala host committee members Glovebox Media Founder and CEO Sue Callaway Kelly, Writers Guild Foundation Board Member Ligiah Villalobos, and Blackline Systems Senior Director of Tax Cheryl Hundley (GSGLA Board Vice Chair)—as well as Devin Lytle of Buzzfeed’s Ladylike and Fox11 anchor Christine Devine.
GSGLA CEO Lise L. Luttgens and Board Chair Shelley Thompson presented the 2019 Women of Distinction awards to three champions of girl and women empowerment, Honorable Judge Sandra R. Klein; journalist, producer, and CNN host Lisa Ling; and Fortune Most Powerful Women Co-Founder and Co-CEO, SellersEaston Media Pattie Sellers.
“The girls I’ve met while working with GSGLA do not see boundaries set by gender, race, or ethnicity,” said Hon. Klein, who has welcomed more than 150 Girl Scouts into her courtroom as part of a Justice patch program she established. Klein also co-leads a troop for girls experiencing homelessness.
Guests on June 8 also heard the powerful stories of LA’s finalists for the National Gold Award Girl Scout honor—a title reserved for 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts across the nation. LA finalists are Sarah A., who is ushering legislation to ban single-use plastic items in Burbank, Zhuojing (Lisa) L., who founded an international nonprofit to combat teen tobacco use through legislative reform and education, and Elaina M., who built a library and promoted literacy at LA’s largest juvenile hall.
“Through Girl Scouts, I’ve learned that my voice has power—power to make a difference in my community, at the state level, and even globally,” Lisa said. “It’s up to us to advocate for a better world.”