Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) Girl Scout, Michela, was recently awarded an inaugural Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) Gold Award Scholarship in recognition of her Gold Award project, “Empathy in Action.”
For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Michela addressed a very topical and critical issue facing students today: sharp increases in mental health problems that became worse during the pandemic.
“All around me, I could see the impact the isolation, cancelled plans, and disrupted schedules was having on friends and classmates. I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. I had to fi nd ways to help…like a Girl Scout,” Michela explained.
Michela created and shared resources with her high school’s staff and student body to help classmates learn about mental health issues and identify when and where to seek help. Her project encouraged self-reflection and provided opportunities to connect with peers to help students maintain their mental and emotional wellbeing during such a tumultuous time. She organized a weeklong virtual mental health campaign emphasizing scientific-based coping strategies, which were shared broadly with her school community. To make sure the project addressed sustainability, she helped establish a psychology club, which will maintain resources to students for years to come.
“Sustainability was very important to me. When you are educating people, you are providing information that they can carry forward throughout all aspects of their lives,” Michela said.
GSUSA launched the Gold Award Scholarship program this year to recognize and provide financial support to one Gold Award Girl Scout per council whose Gold Award project demonstrates extraordinary leadership, measurable impact, and sustainability. As a scholarship recipient, Michela received special recognition during the 2021 Girl Scouts Change the World celebration that was held virtually on October 9 and a $2,060 scholarship.
Michela currently is a freshman at the University of Minnesota.