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Crystal Simmons
(713) 292-0361

Girl Scout helps create community garden to earn Gold Award

HOUSTON (Dec. 15, 2010) – Girl Scout Larissa L. helped create the award-winning garden, Westbury Community Garden, to earn the Girl Scouts 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.

“I learned how good having a garden has been to the immediate community,” says Larissa, a 2010 graduate of Carnegie Vanguard High School. “It has served as a gathering point where people sit and talk and where kids come after school to help out.”

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 more than 100 service hours and 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.

“I was looking for something that would actually have an impact,” explains Larissa. “When I visited the garden and saw how interested and invested people were in it, I knew it was perfect.”

For her project, Larissa designed and installed a roofed bulletin board sign with information about Westbury Community Garden, added four plots to the garden and developed a gardening curriculum for elementary students. After completion, the garden won first place in the beautification category for a non-profit, civic or community organization in the national competition, Keep America Beautiful.

“Larissa learned how important it is to stay organized when doing big projects,” says Zena Taylor, Larissa’s mother. “She learned she could be a leader even in areas where she had no prior expertise.”

As a member of Girl Scouts, Larissa assisted with day camps as a Program Aide. At Carnegie Vanguard High School, she was involved in theater, and was a National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar with Distinction. She is currently attending Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering to study engineering.

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 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 72,000 girl members and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties. For more information call 1-800-392-4340 or visit

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