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Contact: Tami De La Fuente/Marianita K. Paddock
1-800-392-4340, ext. 1277 or ext. 1207
713-778-4604 or 713-707-7190 (pagers)

Latinas Take the Lead! Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Receives Grant To Develop Young Leaders

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Houston, March 2003) Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) will host a program kick-off for the pilot leadership development program, Latinas Taking the Lead, Thursday, March 27 starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Girl Scout Council building, 3110 Southwest Freeway, between Kirby and Buffalo Speedway. Latinas Taking the Lead is a six-month program for Latinas aged 18 to 29, developed specifically for the needs, interests and concerns of young Latinas in this age group. The program curriculum includes coursework in public speaking, networking, writing and event/meeting planning.

Girl Scouts of the USA awarded the San Jacinto Council a $25,000 grant to mentor and develop young Latina leaders and empower them to become ambassadors for Girl Scouting in their home communities. "GSUSA's Girl Scout Research Institute released findings that show conclusively girls respond enthusiastically when approached by young women with whom they have something in common," says Carolyn Johnson, vice president of membership for the San Jacinto Council. "Latinas have been, and are now, a significant part of our Council's family of volunteers and staff. In fact, the first Latina Girl Scouts in our country came from the San Jacinto Council. "With this program, we are making an investment in tomorrow's leaders. Each program participant not only gets to be mentored by other accomplished Latinas, they also learn the importance of volunteering and inspiring others," Johnson adds.

Retired U.S. Marshall and accomplished community volunteer Art Contreras and Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, both of whom serve on the Board of Directors of the San Jacinto Council, have endorsed Latinas Taking the Lead and will work with the program's inaugural class to help secure support, including opportunities for mentoring and internships. To recommend a candidate for the program, or to sign-up as a volunteer presenter, contact Cecilia Garcia at 713-292-0287.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council serves over 55,000 girls and nearly 14,000 adults in 21 east and southeast Texas counties. For information about joining Girl Scouts, call 1-800-392-4340 and ask for Membership. Visit us online at www.gssjc.org.

GSSJS Pluralism Statement
Embracing and promoting pluralism is an integral part of every activity and plan of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, not disconnected or separate projects. Only individuals willing to accept and be educated about the basic tenet that Girl Scouting is for all girls may serve in volunteer leadership or staff positions.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council l Brand Management & Fund Development Department
3110 Southwest Freeway l Houston, TX 77098