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Gold Award Ceremony MAY 1 1, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO Dear Girl Scout Gold Award Class of 2019, Congratulations on earning the Girl Scout Gold Award! In addition to accomplishing a challenging personal goal, you now join an elite group of Girl Scouts who share this extraordinary distinction and honor. While fewer than six percent of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, those that do leave a lasting legacy of impact – locally, nationally, and even globally. I know how much time you’ve put into the planning and execution of your projects and I deeply appreciate the innovation and attention to detail you’ve brought to the process. You make me feel very lucky to be a Girl Scout with you at this special point in time. Becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout marks an important milestone in your Girl Scout career. The same vision, commitment and leadership that brought you through the Gold Award process will now carry you to new heights. The Gold Award will distinguish you in scholarship applications, college admission essays and on your resume – forever. What you have earned will set you apart, in all the best possible ways! As you take your next steps – whether it is finishing high school or entering college, the military or the workforce, I invite you to stay with Girl Scouts for a lifetime. Be a Girl Scout with your voice and your actions – and please don’t stop because this part is complete. Reach out to the local Council wherever you are. Become a volunteer and share your time and talent with girls who need you. At GSSEF, we want to celebrate all of your successes along the way, so please keep in touch with us too! Thank you for brightening our world with your project. I can’t wait to see what you do next. Yours in Girl Scouting,

Lisa Y. Johnson, Chief Executive officer


AGENDA 8:00 a.m. Registration, Shopping and Photography 9:00 a.m. Welcome Presentation of Colors, Pledge of Allegiance and Girl Scout Promise

Tami Donnally Board Chair

Breakfast Buffet Opening Remarks Recognition of the Gold Award Advisors Invitation to Daisy’s Circle Presentation of the Gold Awards Special Presentation

Lisa Y. Johnson Chief Executive Officer

Presentation of the Barbara Ann Turner Scholarship Presentation of the Paul C. Emmett Scholarship Presentation of the Gina Rose Montalto Scholarship Special Thanks Closing Remarks Group Photos Sara Nunez

Flag ceremony conducted by Elizabeth Schmidt, Hailey McKenzie, Topanga McKenzie Marina Santos, Annie Silverman and Catherine Kroop of Troop 10932 and Isabella Marsiello and Vivian Marsiello of Troop 10322.

Chief Development Officer

TAKING PHOTOS DURING TODAY’S CEREMONY? Share them on social media and use #GSSEFGold19 Heather Hileman Vice President Mission Delivery


MORE THAN 100 YEARS OF EXTRAORDINARY PROJECTS FROM AMAZING GIRLS Starting in 1916, the best and brightest Girl Scouts have undertaken projects to improve their communities — and the world! The Golden Eaglet insignia, the highest award in Girl Scouts from 1916 to 1939, marked the beginning of a long tradition of recognizing the extraordinary efforts of trail-blazing girls. From 1940 to 1963, this achievement was rebranded as the Curved Bar Award and remained the highest honor in Girl Scouts. From 1963 to 1980, the highest award was rebranded again as the First Class. Finally, in 1980, the Gold Award was established and has inspired girls to find the greatness inside themselves and to share their ideas and passions ever since. In 2016, in celebration of its centennial, Girl Scouts of the USA recommitted itself to expanding the visibility of the Gold Award and the Girl Scouts who achieve it. To that end, Girl Scouts of the USA invited all women who earned the Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar Award and First Class – to unite as Gold Award Girl Scouts, and with this one name, further strengthening our brand and our movement. In April of 2018, Girl Scouts of the USA and LinkedIn launched the Girl Scout Network on LinkedIn. This new option invites our organization’s more than 50 million Girl Scout alums to connect with one another on the Girl Scout Network to enhance their career development among the 564 million LinkedIn users. Any girl who was a member may join — whether she was a Girl Scout Brownie for one year or stayed in a troop through 12th grade. Yes, there is a special built-in option for Girl Scouts who have earned the Gold Award, to add it to their LinkedIn profile.

NATIONAL GOLD AWARD GIRL SCOUTS Every year, ten exceptionally inspiring Gold Award Girl Scouts are chosen as National Gold Award Girl Scouts. This honor is given to Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who’s Gold Award projects demonstrate extraordinary leadership, have a measurable and sustainable impact, and address a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The National Gold Award Girl Scout program provides these young stars with the opportunity to inspire girls around the world and throughout the Girl Scout Movement — and serve as incredible examples of what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader).™

OUR COUNCIL’S NATIONAL GOLD AWARD GIRL SCOUTS ARE 2005 Crystal Torres Individually Registered Member Pembroke Pines


2007 Rebecca Schultz Troop 10716 Sunrise

ABOUT THE GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout in grades 9-12 may earn. Someone once described the Gold Award as being “what you really want to be remembered for” in Girl Scouting. For many, the leadership skills, organizational skills and sense of community and commitment that come from “going for the Gold” set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.

ABOUT THE GOLD AWARD PROJECT The Gold Award project is something that a girl must be passionate about — in thought, deed and action. The project fulfills a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global), creates change and will become sustainable. If it is an event, the event should be something that people will continue for the next year; if it is a service, it should be something that creates change or action with long-term possibilities; if it is something tangible, it should come with a plan for use and maintenance within the community. Undertaking a Gold Award Project is far more than just a nice service project. Gold Award Projects demand the highest level of organizational, leadership and project management skills.

ABOUT THE GOLD AWARD ADVISOR The role of the volunteer Gold Award Advisor is to guide, coach and provide well-rounded support to individual girls as they work on their Gold Award project plan. Gold Award Advisors are appointed by Council staff and agree to serve a two-year team. Our Advisors make a time commitment to a girl, agreeing to support her from the point of project approval through project completion. These volunteers demonstrate an incredibly high level of dedication, as they nurture a mentoring relationship that promotes girls’ success in leadership, communication, goal-setting, problem-solving and project fulfillment. Once the Gold Award project has been completed, only the Gold Award Advisor may provide the final approval. Gold Award Advisors have a full working knowledge of the GSUSA Award framework, as well as the GSSEF Award guidelines, policies and procedures. Each Advisor personally organizes and facilitates the Council’s required Gold Award Workshops (for girls in high school) throughout the jurisdiction. They are flexible, organized, carry a strong skill set in the use of technology and utilize patience, persistence and passion to work with girls.

OUR GOLD AWARD ADVISORS Angela Barnard Karyl Bertram Debra Mathews Sandra Clutter Karen Dailey

Julia Dourvetakis Paula Fontaine Sophie Gutierrez Merribeth Manning Dr. Nazly Nardi

Tori-Lynn Saraniti Kimberly Schnitzius Joyce Shraim Lisa Tighe Emily Zarzycki



TROOP 20929

Project Title: Sing and Dance with Me Gold Award Advisor: Sophie Gutierrez Hometown: Jupiter Service Unit: Jupiter

Megan Anderson

Megan’s project was built on her passion to help young students with disabilities improve their meaningful absorption of new information. Megan wanted to create a new classroom technique that uses music to aid in the processing of new education elements. At Limestone Creek Elementary School in Palm Beach County, Megan utilized both books and songs with a focus on marine science, which could be incorporated into their new lessons. She wanted to have an impact at the point that new learning starts in the minds of students. Megan believes everybody deserves the opportunity to learn to their fullest capacity and to grasp knowledge. Megan wanted to make an everyday difference in the lives of students and demonstrate that learning doesn’t have to be stressful – in fact, it can be really fun! She experienced the change in the students through all the singing, dancing and learning, but she especially noticed a change for the teacher, too. Together, everyone experienced a joyful, fun and effective way to incorporate music with meaningful outcomes for strengthening the overall teaching and student retention outcomes.


TROOP 20589

Project Title: If You Have a Chance Then Dance/Hoodies for the Homeless Gold Award Advisor: Karyl Bertram Hometown: Lake Worth Service Unit: Sunchariot

Alexis Billeci

Alexis felt called to address the childhood obesity epidemic and lack of understanding about the health benefits of dance. She recognized that children responded extremely well in a group exercise settings, but noticed programs disappearing from school curriculums. Plus, dancing is a wonderful form of exercise that can be enjoyed throughout adult life. Alexis introduced a unique learning and fitness experience through hip hop dancing at Hidden Oaks Elementary School in Palm Beach County. She led a series of afterschool classes for 3rd – 6th graders with energetic music that inspired students to get up and move. Alexis coordinated a full dance recital for families and school members, complete with routines, costumes and lots of choreography. Parents and teachers shared how much this dance class benefited the students and told her they wanted to bring it back next year. Additionally, Alexis made a donation box for the school just for the collection of “hoodie” jackets to both promote her afterschool dance program and get jackets for the area’s homeless community. With nearly 100 hoodies donated by the school’s families, she delivered them to St. Ann Place in West Palm Beach, where they will be given to those people who need them most.


TROOP 30143

Project Title: Swinging into a Better Life through Families and Worship Gold Award Advisor: Emily Zarzycki Hometown: Palm City Service Unit: Sea Star Emily Cooper


Emily was inspired by her faith and the Girl Scout Promise, which begins, “On my honor, I will try: to serve God…” She knows that when she serves others, she serves God. Emily’s church community at Episcopal Church of the Advent in Palm City wanted to grow and reach new young families in their area. In order to lay the groundwork for this initiative, she needed to build a new, safe and fun outdoor play area for young children. Engaging families and children brings new life into the church. This is a positive ripple in the pond of love. Families long for a church that is warm with kid-friendly family worship so the ripples may continue to spread. As part of her project, Emily proposed a revised family worship that included themes of forgiveness by washing of the stones, kid-centric, eye level sermons, introducing Bible readings by parish’s youngest members and the addition of more joyful music. Emily shared that, “the ripple effect that began with a child swinging on a church swing, then moved into the youth group that coordinates community service, then touched the young adult’s life, and continued to everyone feeling good about their contribution and wanting to give even more time as an adult volunteer – who will all continue making positive waves in our world.”


TROOP 10794

Project Title: Riding The Waves: Hydrocephalus Help Kits Gold Award Advisor: Joyce Shraim Hometown: Hollywood Service Unit: Magnolia Leyra’s project was designed to help families affected by Hydrocephalus. This is a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid builds up within the ventricles of the brain and may increase pressure within the head. She saw that there was a serious lack of education, as well as a large amount of misinformation, on Hydrocephalus. The lack of education and understanding means that parents often don’t know about their child’s condition, and can lead to inadvertently ignoring symptoms that endangers their child’s life without immediate treatment. Part one of her project was the creation of 100 “Hydrocephalus Help Kits” for parents when their child is diagnosed in a hospital setting. Part two was an educational presentation for parents with children in a hospital’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Part three focused on teenagers, who are often unsure of how to take care of their medical needs once they transition out of the pediatric system, because their parents had dealt with everything, including insurance. Leyra wanted to share correct and updated information and insights, so she created a blog at While the ongoing blog has no limit to the patients and parents who can access it, the first and second elements of her project benefited three hospitals: Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Richmond County. Leyra Espino-Nardi


TROOP 10155*

Project Title: Save the Bees Gold Award Advisor: Debra Mathews Hometown: Hollywood Service Unit: Atikah *Currently an adult member Baela’s Gold Award focused on raising awareness about the disappearance of wild bees from the environment and showing others how to get involved to make a difference. Three main factors are causing the crisis: urbanization, disease and insecticides. Urbanization is the sprawl or growth of an area into a city; bees cannot thrive because it greatly eliminates where hives would have been built and reduces plants. Disease, specifically Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when bees leave the hive and leave behind the queen, the young bees and all the honey. It is theorized to possibly be triggered by insecticides. Insecticides are chemicals created to protect crops or any plant from certain bugs, however while they may be made for one bug in particular like centipedes, it also affects any other species it comes in contact with. Many bees will come into contact with insecticides while pollinating, causing them to be disoriented and potentially trigger CCD. During the first component of the project, Baela introduced a comprehensive educational series explaining the ecosystem, why bees are in decline and what can be done to help save them. In the second component, she demonstrated and taught volunteers how to build a bee condo. While bees are the biggest group that benefited from this project, the community received a critical piece of education about the species and ways anyone can be a part of the solution.

TROOP 10344

Project Title: Always Wondering: Science for Low-income Preschoolers Gold Award Advisor: Karyl Bertram Hometown: Plantation Service Unit: Atikah A trip to God’s Little Lambs, a low-income family preschool in Oakland Park, with her Girl Scout troop to donate food boxes turned into so much more for Katherine. She has loved science since a young age. To her dismay, she noticed that preschoolers don’t enter into elementary schools with a basic understanding of the scientific method: observation, curiosity and wonder. She worked closely with the school’s director to develop weekly, age-appropriate, science lessons and experiments for the children. She researched experiments, created a simple template for a lesson plan, and compiled various lesson plans that she provided to the school throughout the year. She even worked with the children to conduct some experiments which allowed her to help spark curiosity and see wonder in action. The school now has a year-long curriculum it can utilize for years to come. Katherine hopes her project will continue to impact future generations and influence more women to take on scientific roles because they were exposed to it at a young age.

Katherine Gould

Gold Award 2019


Baela Ferrigno



TROOP 30532

Project Title: Childhood Obesity Gold Award Advisor: Dr. Nazly Nardi Hometown: Stuart Service Unit: Sea Star Childhood obesity is a national epidemic. There are many contributing factors including shortened recess periods at school and the ever-growing appeal of electronic devices. In low-income areas, regular access to healthy food is limited or inconsistent. Rather than passively letting this trend continue, Lucy took action. She partnered with the Christians Reaching Out to Society (CROS) Ministries summer camp. The camp is a nineweek summer day camp for kids, ages 5-18, living in Title 1 zip codes. Lucy’s project encouraged the children attending the summer camp to become more physically active by making different types of games that kept them busy and entertained. These games, which will remain at CROS Ministries to be used with future camp groups, are fun and educational for all ages and allow the kids to get physically active and work together as a team. Not only did she educate the kids and the CROS Ministries staff about physical activity, exercise and healthy eating habits, but she prepared educational information and recipes that were sent home to the parents to help teach them about the importance of these topics. While her focus was on the kids at camp, Lucy hopes this information inspired other family members to get healthy as well!

EMILY HUI Lucy Ireton-Hewitt

Emily Hui

TROOP 10858

Project Title: Take the Stage Gold Award Advisor: Julia Dourvetakis Hometown: Plantation Service Unit: Kowechobe In 2016, Emily signed up to volunteer at Surfers for Autism, a large event where children with autism surf with help from volunteers. After seeing the event sell out within 15 minutes, she realized there needed to be more programs for these children. Emily chose to address this need through one of her passions: dance. “Take the Stage!” is offered in partnership with Broward County Parks and the Recreation Special Populations Division, and is a program where dance is taught to special-needs children with help from high school volunteers. Emily learned that it is extremely difficult to hold the attention of a child with special needs, which makes traditional dance classes difficult to teach. “Take the Stage!” volunteers work with each child while the instructor teaches to help the children focus and follow along. Emily consulted with physical therapists from the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to ensure volunteers could assist with proper body placement, posture and physical strengthening. Emily writes, “Because we are not much older than our participants, my volunteers and I are able to bond with our students very closely.” She goes on to say, “Though the class started small, it soon gained momentum and all participants, parents and volunteers look forward to it…The parents cheer and encourage their children during the classes and the children benefit from improved confidence, coordination and social and motor skills. The volunteers also gain a lot from the class as they see the students grow and improve every week. There are usually tears from both parents and volunteers at the end of each session.”


TROOP 10223

Project Title: Music as Medicine: Advocacy for the Health and Well-being of Seniors Gold Award Advisor: Karyl Bertram Hometown: Lighthouse Point Service Unit: Magnolia Ilana Hutzler


Seniors spend much of their time alone when they are in residential facilities, many without regular visitors. For her Gold Award project Ilana set forth to change and improve the lives of local seniors through music. Research on music therapy indicates that exposure to music helps with sensory stimulation, stress, loneliness and responsiveness to treatment. Over the last two years, she has organized and performed events for seniors across South Florida. She writes of the experience, “When I visited senior centers, the residents were very engaged with the music. They often clapped or tapped their feet to the beat, and occasionally even hummed or sang along. After events, the activity coordinators would often let me know how about the uplifting and positive lasting effects the music had on the seniors.” She started a club, Music in the Community, at her school in order to involve other musically inclined students in this work. The Pine Crest School administration has approved the club to continue after Ilana graduates, ensuring this multi-generational connection through music will continue.


TROOP 20624*

Project Title: Watch, Learn, Conserve Gold Award Advisor: Paula Fontaine Hometown: North Palm Beach Service Unit: Jupiter *Currently an adult member Chelsea hopes to inspire the younger generation to practice environmentally-friendly lifestyles and help the planet. To accomplish this, she created the “Watch, Learn, Conserve” school curriculums for grades K-5 which are focused on important environmental topics. In the program, kindergarten and first grade students study beach conservation, second grade students learn about recycling, third and fourth graders research energy conservation, and fifth graders examine endangered and threatened animals. Each topic has video, discussion, craft and coloring pages. Chelsea believes having hands-on activities and tangible evidence of what each student learned will be a beacon for environmental change. Her goal was that when one of her students looked at the craft or the coloring page, they would remember the information they learned, share their knowledge, be inspired and take action. The videos and curriculum she created are free for anyone to use, including schools and Girl Scout troops. All of her videos are on YouTube and class materials are online so they are accessible for any teacher or troop to use. Chelsea writes, “One day, the younger generation will make the decisions for this planet, and I want my project to inspire that generation now rather than later. While in my videos, I give them tips they can follow in their youth, my hope is that the information made an impact in their lives that it will motivate them to continue learning and changing the world.” Chelsea Mistretta


TROOP 10268

Project Title: Recycle the Present, Save the Future Gold Award Advisor: Kimberly Schnitzius Hometown: Coral Springs Service Unit: Everglades It is said that the biggest ideas begin in your own backyard. Calista noticed that a lot of people are unfamiliar with recycling or they throw anything into the recycling bin without thinking. This method makes the job harder for workers, it costs money to send discarded items to the landfill, and it contaminates items that should be recycled. So she started a program in her own ‘backyard’ to teach people how to recycle correctly. Calista created a recycling workshop to spread the education throughout her community. She decided to not make pamphlets after visiting the Waste Management Facility where her tour guide heavily discouraged their use, because many people may end up tossing them in the trash and they would use up a lot of unnecessary paper. Instead she chose to take the electronic route to disperse information, which will always be available on the internet for people to read whenever they can. Calista spoke at the Coral Springs city commission meeting to inform the public of her project. Calista shared, “after I spoke at the commission meeting, a journalist came up to me and spoke to me about the facts I had told them and that she had a magazine that she would like to share with me about recycling. She, as well as another lady, told me that I would help change the world and that made me feel like I had a lot of impact on the people I had spoken to that night.”


Calista Ng


Project Title: Tower of Knowledge Gold Award Advisor: Debra Mathews Hometown: Miramar Service Unit: Wildflower Kelly Norman

Gold Award 2019

Students with special needs require special care, but most people don’t know what that care involves. Kelly recognized the struggle to enhance special needs students’ cognitive and problem-solving skills and she wanted to empower the children to do something amazing with their lives and to inspire them to make a difference. She focused her project on learning more about the autism spectrum and what she could do to help further their education. Kelly worked with the Angel’s Reach Foundation and Silver Lakes Elementary School in Miramar to provide a safe and engaging learning atmosphere for all. She combined education and entertainment by creating extra-large outdoor Jenga and Connect Four sets. These outdoor games stimulate both their physical needs and cognitive skills by focusing all of their energy into something that they can learn from. Kelly writes, “so many people have a bias towards the Autism community. I used my project to help change that for the better. I worked with many people and taught them that autism isn’t something that should be looked down on. These students are brilliant individuals. I gave them a way to channel their energy into something beneficial for both them and the community.”

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TROOP 20293

Project Title: Florida Native Plants and their use in Creative Gardening Gold Award Advisor: Karyl Bertram Hometown: Boca Raton Service Unit: Luna Florida has a delicate ecosystem. One that is vulnerable to invasive plants and animals, that if left unchecked, will threaten native species and throw off the balance needed to sustain the livable environment that we call home. Katiana’s project addresses the issue of Florida’s native plants versus invasive species and avoiding common commercially grown plants. She was able to bring together the community and its leaders to assist in creating a learning garden for the students at Hammock Pointe Elementary School. Each year their 4th graders read a book from Harvey Oyer, The Last Egret: The Adventures of Charlie Pierce. This book is set in Florida and deals with the natural plants and animals found in it. With the garden in place, it will help them visualize the book because they will see what they are reading and in turn, score better on the topic-related assignments. While the students at Hammock Pointe Elementary School directly benefit from her project and can enjoy the garden in-person, Katiana also incorporated a website to educate those who visit on the importance of native species in our environment. In addition to the educational opportunity for garden visitors, Katiana was able to solve some drainage concerns. The garden is now beautiful, self-sustaining and will continue with the support of the school administration.

JALEESA SMITH Katiana Povsic

Jaleesa Smith

TROOP 10639

Project Title: One Note at a Time Gold Award Advisor: Kimberly Schnitzius Hometown: Plantation Service Unit: Royal Palm To say Jaleesa is musically inclined is a bit of an understatement. She’s played the saxophone for more than six years and learned on her own how to play the clarinet, flute, baritone, trumpet, bassoon, guitar, bass, drums and piano. Even with all of this talent and experience, when she got to high school she felt others were more musically advanced than she was, which was discouraging. She worked harder to “catch up” and then decided she wanted to help others so that no one would ever have to feel unprepared as they step into their musical journey. She wanted to level the playing field, the musical playing field. Jaleesa’s Gold Award addressed the issue that many band directors face when they have a beginning band; that students don’t know what they’re doing and because one director can’t teach everybody in the short time they have together, some students lose their passion for music and never continue. Jaleesa created a created a comprehensive guide for each beginning band wind instrument and taught and shared the information with young music students. By creating and teaching with these books, the stress of teaching the basic fundamentals of music to students didn’t set the band program and directors back. The books were designed for any beginning band student or for any player who wants to understand their instrument better. Mass band at Sunrise Middle School and beginning band, concert band and advanced band at Fort Lauderdale High School have all benefited from Jaleesa’s project.


TROOP 10536

Project Title: Volunteer Break Area Restoration and Food Education Gold Award Advisor: Paula Fontaine Hometown: Tamarac Service Unit: Blazing Star Nyala Thomas

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Volunteers are so often the lifeblood of non-profit organizations, giving their time and talent and expecting little in return. As a volunteer herself, Nyala knew that by fortifying the volunteer experience, clients at LifeNet 4 Families, an organization which has provided service to the hungry and homeless of Broward County for more than 30 years, would benefit greatly. She wanted to make sure that volunteers knew that they are appreciated, so she refurbished their break area with a couch and new table to ensure their ability to rest and rejuvenate. Nyala also knew volunteers needed to safely secure their belongings while they are working, so she added lockers too. For the clients, she created a recipe and nutrition booklet with nutritional facts and easy recipes that could be made from the resources provided by the LifeNet 4 Families pantry. Many of the recipes in the book were sourced from online recipe websites while others were her own. She worked with the chef at LN4F to demonstrate and serve these recipes so the local clients would get a sense of how to make them as well as learn about the nutritional value of each meal. Nyala feels it’s important for everyone, including the homeless community, to know about nutritional values in their food and the importance of healthy eating. Not only were her recipes shared with food pantry clients, but Dr. Melanie Geddes, CEO, of LifeNet 4 Families has assured Nyala that they plan to continue the use of the cookbook by incorporating cooking workshops for clients.


TROOP 30143

Project Title: Hopeful Health: Fitness for Families Gold Award Advisor: Kimberly Schnitzius Hometown: Palm City Service Unit: Sea Star Kathryn’s passion is to bring more awareness to the value of healthy lifestyles, nutrition information and fitness. In her research, Kathryn found that in the Stuart community of Golden Gate, obesity was on the rise and she knew she could make a difference. She partnered with the Florida Department of Health in Martin County and the House of Hope in Stuart to create a weekly series of interactive and interesting programs for the community. The programs offered 45 minutes of education and followed by 45 minutes of fitness. Her engaging topics ranged from discussion about the power of family traditions and the culture of food to learning to navigate sly media campaigns designed to impact the decision to eat. With sessions like ‘Junior Food Sleuths,’ ‘5-2-1-0 Fiesta’ and Jazzercise, her series literally has something for everyone and incorporated activities such as gardening, sustainable growing and cooking. Kathryn’s concept was extremely popular and the House of Hope will continue to offer the program for six weeks over the summer. Together with these partners, Kathryn is confident that the community will now be more informed, know where to find resources and become healthier over time.


TROOP 10151

Project Title: Engineering Club for Girls Gold Award Advisor: Sophie Gutierrez Hometown: Parkland Service Unit: Everglades Today, women remain significantly underrepresented in the technical fields, especially in engineering. She wanted to use her passion for STEM to help close the gender gap in engineering by involving more girls early on and influencing their future education and career choices. She created GEAR GIRLS, a weekly after-school Engineering Club at Westglades Middle School, that introduced girls in grades 6-8 to the world of engineering. The purpose of the club was to increase interest in and awareness of engineering while developing creative confidence, improving attitude, building teamwork and acquiring technical skills through hands-on, projectbased experiences. In addition to practical experience in engineering design, the club provided a forum for informational presentations featuring female scientists and cutting edge technologies. Club activities, which Sophia designed, combined presentations, with experiential learning and discussions. Sophia shared that “some of the most successful and exciting activities that I did with the girls included bottle rocket design, reverse engineering of a portable speaker, construction of a working speaker out of paper plates and electromagnets, spaghetti tower engineering challenge, introduction to engineering graphics and 3D modeling software, and machine shop/manufacturing intro.” Sophia created a GEAR GIRLS Instagram, shared it with girls at the “Invent it. Build it” Convention and presented her project at the annual national conference for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in Minneapolis. There her work was shared with other STEM educators, as well as collegiate and industry leaders from all over the country.


Kathryn Thorsen

Sophia Viner

TROOP 10700

Project Title: Stringing It All Together Gold Award Advisor: Dr. Nazly Nardi Hometown: Pembroke Pines Service Unit: Wildflower Kai Zaragoza

Gold Award 2019

Kai has played violin from a very young age and grew distressed over the dwindling number of middle schools offering music education in Broward County. She set out to change this by creating a new 29 student-member string orchestra at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School. Kai’s orchestra offered lessons for violin, viola, bass and cello with weekly instruction on Saturdays for five months. By involving her community, Kai was able to provide all of the instruments and books, as well as volunteers who agreed to provide individual instruction. She personally instructed students in the instruments and taught them how to read sheet music. Additionally, the students who participated in the orchestra could attend an afterschool program where they could tune into ‘live’ instructional classes on video, from another area middle school with different hours. These video classes were offered Monday through Friday for one hour. As a result of the string orchestra Kai created, Lauderdale Lakes Middle School now offers orchestra in its regular year-round curriculum. This has created so much interest, that a total of five classes are filled with aspiring musicians. Kai has also been approached by a local high school and Lynn University, requesting that she work with them on more start-up student orchestras.

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BARBARA ANN TURNER SCHOLARSHIP Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is honored to award the Service from the Heart Scholarship in memory of Barbara Ann Turner, a dedicated volunteer. Barbara had many interests in her life, but nothing was as dear to her as the Girl Scouts. She served as a leader, council trainer, service unit manager and women’s history committee member. She shared her enthusiasm and commitment to the Girl Scout volunteer spirit in the many service projects she organized. Her wish was that an ongoing scholarship be established to recognize exceptional community service. This dream was realized when the first scholarship was awarded in 2008 to one Girl Scout in the amount of $500. Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida has been extremely pleased that, thanks to the generosity of ongoing donations, the scholarship has been increased to $1000. In this spirit, the Service from the Heart Scholarship will continue to be awarded annually to a high school age Girl Scout, who is currently registered in this council who has given exceptional service in her community. Barbara Ann Turner

KAYLA ABRAMOWITZ TROOP 20274 2019 Barbara Ann Turner Service from the Heart Scholarship Recipient

Kayla Abramowitz


Kayla has been a Girl Scout since she was eight years old, and when she was just 13 years old, she founded Kayla Cares 4 Kids. It’s simple and powerful mission is to help sick kids feel better by providing entertainment and educational items to children’s medical facilities and supporting organizations. Kayla, its CKO (that’s Chief Kid Officer) was inspired to create the organization and work hand-in-hand with Ronald McDonald House and children’s hospitals following her own extended hospital stays. Kayla has Crohn’s Disease, Juvenile Arthritis and Eosinophilic Colitis – and yet she doesn’t let it slow her down or dampen her spirit. To date, Kayla Cares 4 Kids has already delivered more than 19,000 DVDs, video game consoles, video games, DVD players, handheld electronics, books and arts and crafts supplies to nearly 450 children’s hospitals and related facilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Kayla is finishing the 11th grade at William T. Dwyer High School in Jupiter and also volunteers for the Arthritis Foundation as a Juvenile Advocate and with the Friends of Jupiter Beach as an active clean-up volunteer.

PAUL C. EMMETT MVP CHAMPION OF THE COMMUNITY SCHOLARSHIP In 2001, father, husband and entrepreneur Paul Emmett, president and owner of Lake Worth-based Duffy’s Sports Grill, had a vision to transform a few beloved local establishments into the popular sports-themed, casual-dining phenomenon we know today. Infusing a passion for top quality food combined with welcoming, memorable hospitality in a family friendly atmosphere, Paul made Duffy’s a community favorite across the state of Florida. Paul passed away in 2015 after a lengthy battle with cancer. His family has pledged to carry his legacy forward by staying true to his principles and beliefs. At an early age Paul was a community service leader and believed Duffy’s should always be an integral part of each community it serves. In 2016, his family established the Duffy’s Foundation, created in his memory, to keep his passion for community involvement and charitable giving alive. Now in 2019, his family is proud to begin the Paul C. Emmett MVP Champion of the Community Scholarship with Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, in honor of his commitment to community and forward-focused outlook in both work and life.

Paul C. Emmett

CHELSEA MISTRETTA ADULT MEMBER 2019 Paul C. Emmet MVP Champion of the Community Scholarship Recipient Chelsea has demonstrated a true passion for community service since her earlier Girl Scout days singing at nursing homes and making blankets for Project Linus with her troop. This led her and her troop to activities like planting a garden in her school’s backyard and earning the Silver Award together.

This year Chelsea completed her Girl Scout Gold Award “Watch, Learn, Conserve” , a series of cirriculums for elementary schools focused on important enviromental topics. Chelsea is currently attending college at the University of Florida.

Chelsea Mistretta

Scholarships 2019

Chelsea’s passion for service quickly branched out beyond the world of Girl Scouting. In high school she was the president of the Environmental Association. Every summer she served as a volunteer counselor at Vacation Bible School and a photography camp at her church. She created educational math videos for children in India and participated in TOP soccer, where she was paired with a child with special needs to help them play soccer. Chelsea’s proudest moment came when she filmed and edited a production for the Honor Flight in South Florida. She flew to Washington D.C. with World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veterans to film their experiences as they visited the national monuments built in their honor. The documentary was a Virtual Honor Flight, which was shown at an event at her high school, for veterans who could not take the actual Honor Flight.


GINA ROSE MONTALTO SCHOLARSHIP Gina Rose Montalto was an extraordinary person; her smile lit up a room, her laughter was infectious and her warm heart invited new friends wherever she went. With a kind and generous spirit, Gina always lent a helping hand, and led a life full of joy and love. She was a talented artist, loved cooking, reading, playing sports and was a top student. As a lifelong Girl Scout, Gina used all of her many talents to make the world a better place. Gina earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, when she was as a Cadette Girl Scout, with her Troop. Gina was enormously proud of this accomplishment and as she began the ninth grade, she was actively exploring ideas for her future Girl Scout Gold Award.

Gina Rose Montalto

Gina was a victim of the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. Gina’s loving parents, Tony and Jennifer, knew that even as her life was cut short, the dreams of Girl Scouts earning the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award lives on in so many others. Inspired by this, and Gina’s life, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is proud to offer an annual scholarship opportunity in the amount of $1,500 through support from the Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation.

JILLIAN MELORO TROOP 10424 2019 Gina Rose Montalto Scholarship Recipient

Jillian Meloro

Jillian is a lifelong Girl Scout and the past 11 years has provided her with a wide range of meaningful opportunities that have allowed her to develop leadership skills, contribute to her community and inspired her to always put forth her best. When Jillian set out to earn the Gold Award she harnessed her passion and creativity to develop her project, “Write Your Heart Out”, a series of classes designed for ‘tweens’ to demonstrate to them how creative writing can be a powerful outlet. Her classes were offered at the Helen B. Hoffman Library in Plantation and the Jack and Jill Children’s Center in Fort Lauderdale. Jillian also designed and donated Creative Writing STEAM kits to both organizations so that children could continue to improve their new skills. In addition, she designed and launched a website so she could share creative writing with an even broader audience. Finally, Jillian organized a creative writing contest with her partners at the Helen B. Hoffman Library. She completed her project and earned her Gold Award in May 2018. Jillian has been a tireless advocate for the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and for girls to follow their passions with intent and enthusiasm! She said, “Soon, my Girl Scouting (as a girl member) will come to an end for me, but it changed my life for the better. If I helped even one young person work through a problem by using creative writing as an outlet, I have made the world a better place.”


GINA ROSE MONTALTO April 22, 2003 – February 14, 2018 Gina Rose Montalto, was a special girl who melted each heart with an infectious smile that lit up a room. She was instant friends with everyone she met. She had a great sense of humor, and always made people laugh. She was a kind spirit, always eager to lend a helping hand. She was a member of her school Color Guard – a team which she loved dearly, an active member in her local church, and a Girl Scout in Troop 10581 in the Blazing Star Service Unit.

Gina was only 14 years old when she was taken from us on February 14, 2018. She will be deeply missed, not only by her family, but by everyone whose life she touched in her short time on earth. Her spirt, love and zest for life live on in our memories. Her empathy, kindness and passion for helping others will also live on and continue to make the world a better place through the Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation. Learn more about the Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation by visiting:

In Memoriam 2019

Gina was a talented artist who illustrated for a local magazine. She enjoyed volunteering and loved little kids. She loved to cook with her father and her grandmother – especially during the holiday season. Gina was an avid reader and loved Harry Potter books, Hunger Games and Wonder Woman. She loved fashion, enjoyed shopping and going to spa days with her mother and NY Jets games with her father. She loved to be outside – she played soccer and flag football in the local recreational leagues. Gina was an exceptional student who always earned the highest grades in school and had a very bright future ahead of her. She was best buddies with her little brother and adored spending time with her entire family – especially her cousins.


Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I WILL TRY: to serve GOD and MY COUNTRY, to HELP people AT ALL TIMES,

and to live by the GIRL SCOUT LAW.

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be





RESPONSIBLE for what I SAY and DO, and to




make the WORLD a BETTER PLACE, and

be a SISTER to every GIRL SCOUT.

Girl Scout Mission

GIRL SCOUTING B U I L D S girls of courage, confidence and character , who make the

world a better place.


Profile for Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

2019 Gold Award Program  

On May 11, 2019 GSSEF hosted the Gold Award Ceremony for 18 outstanding Girl Scouts who completed their Gold Award Projects during the 2018-...

2019 Gold Award Program  

On May 11, 2019 GSSEF hosted the Gold Award Ceremony for 18 outstanding Girl Scouts who completed their Gold Award Projects during the 2018-...

Profile for gssef