Girl Scouts recognize Gwinnett young women of distinction

Zoe Gadegbeku, Amy Dosik and Mary Williams at the To Get Her There Luncheon on Monday. (Photo: Kate Croxton)

DULUTH — The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta hosted the group’s inaugural To Get Her There Luncheon on Monday at the 1818 Club in Duluth. The event brought together more than 100 Gwinnett business, civic and community leaders, including the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris.

The luncheon was designed to help raise critical funds to support the more than 5,400 Girl Scouts in Gwinnett County, the second-largest county in girl membership, as well as recognize two Girl Scouts for their National Young Woman of Distinction projects.

Sarah Schurr, a Greater Atlanta Christian School graduate, was the 2015 National Young Woman of Distinction awardee for her project “Talk To Me,” which helps caregivers increase communication and interaction with elderly patients who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s or social detachment. Schurr created an educational booklet, website and tool kits, called treasure boxes, that provided sensory maps, conversation starter cards and a photo album. Sarah began her project because her grandmother started showing signs of early dementia and she released her family did not know how to take care of her.

Cynthia Schurr, Sarah’s mother, spoke for her daughter since Sarah was at school in Stanford.

“I have witnessed first hand the life-changing power of Girl Scouts and the Gold Award,” Schurr said. “Being a Girl Scout sets young women apart in the large pool of applicants. Sarah and I refer to Girl Scouts as ‘the gift that keeps on giving.’ Girl Scouts has provided Sarah’s interest in the biochemical aspects of human disease, an avenue for early expression and early exploration.”

Zoe Gadegbeku, a Providence Christian Academy graduate, was the 2013 National Young Woman of Distinction awardee and the founder of Women in Science and Health (WISH) Career Network. WISH is a volunteer organization that educates and encourages young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

Gadegbeku spoke at the luncheon and discussed how the Girl Scouts changed her life and led her to create WISH in 2011 due to the gender imbalance in the STEM field.

“I believe that every girl should experience the quality programs offered by the Girl Scout organization,” Gadegbeku said. “The leadership experiences and the platform provided to me changed my life. Becoming a National Young Woman of Distinction allowed for me to be selected to do something I would have never imagined. I am an example of where Girl Scout programming can take a girl.

“I created WISH to encourage, educate and positively affect young women in pursuing these career paths,” Gadegbeku explained. “This gender imbalance not only affects young female graduates looking for mentors in the work place, but it also limits female representation during the development of many products that arrive in the market place. Creating WISH provided opportunities for girls to explore STEM and health careers.”

Both girls were Gold Award recipients. The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive and is earned by fewer than 5 percent of Girl Scouts. The National Young Woman of Distinction Award is given to only 10 girls in the entire nation after the Girl Scouts of the USA board looks over each nominee’s Gold Award project.

“Gwinnett is a great place for Girl Scouts,” said Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta CEO Amy Dosik in a press release. “With the support of the business and civic community, we are able to deliver a program that makes a positive impact on girls from all backgrounds and helps create a pipeline for tomorrow’s female leaders.”

The keynote speaker was Gwinnett County Commissioner and former Girl Scout and Girl Scout Troop Leader Lynette Howard.

“It makes me so proud,” Howard said. “They have always been hard workers.”

Co-chairs for the luncheon were Gwinnett residents Angela Lindsay, Associate Vice President of Sales for Nationwide Insurance and former Girl Scout of Greater Atlanta board member, and Walter Lindsay, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Client Services for Herndon Capital Management.

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