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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 Recognizes Graduates of Special Leadership Development Course Dedicated To Future Generations of Latina Volunteers

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Houston, December 2003) Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) will host the graduation of the inaugural class of Latinas Taking the Lead, featuring twelve young women who have completed various competencies in teambuilding, communications, managing volunteers, event planning, and ROPES course training, Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Junior League Tea Room, 1811 Briar Oaks Lane. The graduates include Jeanette de los Santos, Maria Figueroa, Christina Garcia, Gabriela Garcia, Adriana Holguin, Marlen Jaime, Kimberly Quintanilla, Guadalupe Martinez, Soraira Pacheco, Angela Platsas, Maria Santos and Erika Villareal. 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.

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. “ I have watched each of our twelve young women actually take the lead in balancing work, school, families and their new Girl Scout training commitment. They have come to be mentors for each other, and will be very valuable assets in branding in the growing Latina demographic that will mean so much to the future of Girl Scouting,” says Cecilia Garcia, membership manager and program coordinator.

The twelve graduates, two of whom have agreed to become troop leaders, will volunteer with the San Jacinto Council for at least a year, and they will also serve as mentors to the next Latinas Taking the Lead class; recruiting for the new class starts in January 2004.

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 continue to work with the program’s inaugural class to help secure support, including opportunities for mentoring and internships. The program is free to all participants. To recommend a Latinas Taking the Lead candidate, or to sign-up as a volunteer presenter, contact Cecilia Garcia at 713-292-0287.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council serves over 58,000 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