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Katie Moyer
713-292-0367 or 713-292-0300

Local Girl Scout Helps Local, Foreign Communities to Earn Girl Scout Award

KATY, Texas (May 21, 2008) – Local Girl Scout Saakshi C. traveled to India to educate girls living in an orphanage about good hygiene habits and also shared her culture with local senior citizens, while completing all the requirements to receive the Girl Scout of San Jacinto Council Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition.

Earning the Gold Award is a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement, and personal development. It takes two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project that is a service to the community.

After traveling to Bareilly, India a couple of years ago to visit family, Saakshi became aware of the growing problem of orphaned girls. It is much more common for this fate to fall upon a female because many impoverished families can’t afford to pay dowries, according to Orphans of India, a non-profit organization devoted to restoring the lives of orphans in third world countries.

Saakshi, a junior at Seven Lakes High School, wanted to help, and focused her efforts on dental hygiene awareness. She contacted the Arya Samaj Orphanage in Bareilly and planned a “Dental Health Care Camp” for 30 of its teenage residents. She visited the orphanage to meet the girls and recruit volunteers from the local dental college to speak to the girls about good hygiene habits, as well as a local dentist to give each girl an examination. “I hope to see positive changes in the world,” said Saakshi. “By instilling orphans with a positive image of themselves, they would be healthier and posses a strong and positive future.”

Before embarking on her journey, Saakshi spoke to her dentist, Dr. Dhutia DDS of Katy Orthodontics, who donated a dental hygiene kit for each participant. The camp lasted five days and each girl received an examination and learned ways to protect her teeth. “I wanted to reach out to each girl and show them healthier habits to enhance their lives,” said Saakshi.

Saakshi also took a piece of India home and shared it with the residents at Sunrise Senior Living in Katy. She organized an Indian Culture Fair featuring a talent show that emphasized cultural art, dance and music to celebrate India’s Independence Day. Friends and family showed up to help educate and entertain more than 25 residents. “I wanted to spread the spirit of volunteerism,” said Saakshi. “Hopefully this will fuel and encourage others to go out there and make a difference.”

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.5 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 64,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit www.gssjc.org.

GSSJC 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.

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