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Local Girl Scouts receive group’s top honor

Bronx Times

These Girl Scouts know the meaning of “girl power”.

The Girl Scouts of Greater New York presented nine from a Bronx troop with its highest honor, the Girl Scout Gold Award.

The award is only given to senior Scouts who complete extensive requirements, including service projects with a lasting impact on their communities.

This year’s recipients - Alessandra Allen, Tyiesha DeJesus, Caterina Velazquez, Denise Prado O’Leary, Melissa McEvoy, Sara Wojtowicz, Victoria Choy, Abigail Vasquez and Priscilla Vazquez - received their awards on Tuesday, June 12, at a ceremony held at Barnard College.

A total of 69 scouts throughout the city received the award, nearly twice the number from last year.

“We are very proud of these girls and their accomplishments,” said Barbara Murphy- Warrington, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater New York. “Girls who earn the Gold Award have greater access to college scholarships, paid internships, and community awards. This is a great foundation for young women who are beginning to make their way in the world.”

Projects ranged from working to fix social problems among teens to conducting food and clothing drives for homeless shelters.

Alessandra Allen from Morris Park conducted workshops for teen girls addressing low self-esteem, negative body images and social status pressures on young women.

Allen said she came up with the idea for her project because of every day pressures she saw females put through in her all girl’s high school in Manhattan.

“I see girls that wear make up for no reason and who feel they can’t go out with out looking a certain way,” Allen said. “A female always has to look presentable for everything and I found that wasn’t right so I wanted to try and help the community to change that, and look into it more.”

Priscilla Vasquez, also from Morris Park, organized a community health fair to educate participants on the importance of good health and disease prevention and awareness.

She also offered opportunities for people to stay fit and eat healthy by providing a Zumba session and and healthy food samples.

Vasquez said when she joined girl scouts in fifth grade, her goal was to achieve the gold award.

“It really shows you’re trying to make a difference in the community and I hope beyond girl scouts I can continue to do projects like this,” she said.

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