Tag Archives: Arvada West High School

Meet and Celebrate Julia Trujillo, Colorado’s 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout

Julia Trujillo of Arvada has been honored with a national award from Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)! She is one of 10 teen activists to be named National Gold Award Girl Scout. As a senior at Arvada West High School, Julia tackled the lack of accessibility to menstrual products in Colorado public schools and the stigma of periods. She partnered with Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone and led the high school’s Intersectional Feminist Club to create a legislative action committee, which introduced a bill to end period poverty and stigma, and advocated for students in Title One schools. Julia has also been selected to be GSUSA’s girl activist and representative at the United Nation’s Girls Speak Out Girl’s Rights Townhall. She will speak about her advocacy efforts for menstrual equity.

Both GSUSA and Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) have planned a few different ways for girls and volunteers to meet/connect with Julia directly.

Girl Scouts Change the World Event

Saturday, October 10 at 2 p.m.

Join GSUSA for a party to celebrate International Day of the Girl and meet the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts. Learn out how they earned the top award in Girl Scouts. Register here!

Meet an Expert: National Gold Award Girl Scout

Tuesday, October 27 at 5 p.m.

Girl Scouts of all ages are invited to a special webinar to meet Julia  Trujillo, Colorado’s 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout. Register here!

Intimate NGAGS Interview

Wednesday, October 28

Tune in to the GSCO Facebook page and YouTube channel for an intimate interview with 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout Julia Trujillo and GSCO CEO Leanna Clark!

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Colorado Girl Scout Earns National Award for Addressing Lack of Menstrual Product Accessibility

Ahead of International Day of the Girl on October 11, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced Julia Trujillo of Arvada as a 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout—one of 10 teen activists nationwide who has shown extraordinary leadership and created change with sustainable impact. As a senior at Arvada West High School, Julia earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for tackling the lack of accessibility to menstrual products in Colorado public schools and the stigma of periods. As part of Julia’s research for her project, she found a 2017 BBC report that indicated 49% of 14-to-21-year-olds in the United States have missed an entire day of school because of their period and of them, 59% have made up an alternative excuse. Julia partnered with Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone and led the high school’s Intersectional Feminist Club to create a legislative action committee, which introduced legislation to end period poverty and stigma, and advocated for students in Title One schools. Even though Julia’s bill did not pass due to budget cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, her work inspired commitments from Jefferson County and Denver public schools to provide district-wide menstrual products. Julia also continues to advocate for ending period poverty and is currently interning for Rep. Tiptone.

In addition to being honored as a National Gold Award Girl Scout, Julia has been selected to be Girl Scouts of the USA’s girl activist and representative at the United Nation’s Girls Speak Out Girl’s Rights Townhall. She will speak about her advocacy efforts for menstrual equity. This event brings girl activists and policy makers together to discuss the gaps, challenges, and success in the girl’s rights agenda and how we can work together to build a more equitable world for girls.

Each year, thousands of Girl Scouts nationwide earn the Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout in high school can earn. These Gold Award Girl Scouts tackle an issue that is dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Annually, GSUSA recognizes 10 of these girls as National Gold Award Girl Scouts for completing projects that exemplify strong leadership and sustainable impact. Earning the Gold Award opens doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities—as well as skills that set girls up for success, like strategic thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, and time management.

“We are immensely proud of the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts! They are addressing issues that impact their community and matter to them,” said interim GSUSA CEO Judith Batty. “To earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouts must identify the source of a problem, develop a sustainable solution, and engage their communities in bringing about that solution. These ten remarkable girls are proof that Girl Scouts gives girls the tools to harness their inner power and make a meaningful difference in the world. In this difficult year and always, Girl Scouts are our hope for the future.”

This year, National Gold Award Girl Scout nominations underwent a rigorous multi-round review process, with finalist applications reviewed by a panel of previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, leaders from a range of professional fields, GSUSA staff, Girl Scouts’ national volunteer partners, and representatives from the Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation. The 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive a combined $100,000 in college scholarships from Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of a women’s leadership development organization and a former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors. The Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation also each generously contributed $50,000 in college scholarships.

On October 10, girls are invited to attend the Girl Scouts Change the World virtual celebration ahead of International Day of the Girl to meet the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts as they share their projects to inspire a new generation to step up in unique ways and transform the world around them. The event is powered by technology sponsor Microsoft. It is specially designed for Girl Scouts in grades 4-12 but is open to caregivers, volunteers, and girls who want to be inspired.

“Microsoft believes in inspiring girls to become the next generation of innovators and leaders,” said Olga Lymberis, Sr. Director, Community, Small Business, Education and Cloud Marketing, Microsoft. “For the second year, we are sponsoring the National Gold Award Girl Scout celebration because we know that closing the gender gap in fields like STEM requires tapping into girls’ creativity, providing encouragement, and highlighting real-world role models like these Gold Award Girl Scouts. By highlighting girls’ incredible achievements, Microsoft is continuing its efforts to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality now and in the future.”

Gold Award Girl Scout: Charlotte Blish, Arvada, “Watering Communities”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Watering Communities started as an education platform for local elementary schools to discuss how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in parts of Africa while combining into the Jefferson curriculum of “how one person can make a difference.” I authored curriculum for the classroom setting, small workshops, large workshop venues, and an after-school club. In addition, I established a 501c3 nonprofit titled Watering Communities to extend the curriculum globally and to be able to send first-aid kits with water filters to countries experiencing natural disasters. I worked with international schools in Hong Kong and Taiwan, helping author STEM curriculum for their science, technology, and field-work courses; where students learned how to create various water filters, code a problem-solving game while learning how water impacts education and health, and compete a curriculum workshop so students could apply their knowledge in a field-type setting outside of the classroom.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

Depending on the setting, it was measured by growth of knowledge either with a survey or group discussion. I measured if the students were able to apply the knowledge they had gained by recreating water experiments, building water filters, and applying the skills they had learned out in the field.

How is your project sustainable?

Watering Communities is sustainable two different ways:  As a 501c3 nonprofit with a board of directors and by a signed letter of commitment from Think International Primary. By establishing Watering Communities as a 501c3 with a board of directors, the board is able to proactively set goals on how to expand the educational components into additional overseas schools or organizations as well as monitoring water crises at the international level to send first-aid kits with water filters. Think International Primary enjoyed the custom-curriculum I wrote for them so much they are continuing to implement it at the fourth-grade level in their STEM classes. Students will learn about how water crisis can limit opportunities both physically and mentally, learn the science of water through an eight-week course, built prototype water filter models, and then apply the water filters into real world situations in a field setting. Think International Primary was inspired to also take on a fundraising component to help local children in their community.

What is your global or national connection?

Think International Primary of Hong Kong saw the webpage for Watering Communities and was curious about the curriculum specifically because it was oriented to towards elementary-age kids and was hands-on learning.  They reached out to me and we discussed what their needs were curriculum-wise, what additional resources I could help them with, and how the curriculum could apply to real life experiences outside of the classroom. Think International Primary asked me to custom-author a program to fit inside their eight-week STEM lesson plan based on learning about the scientific aspects of water, the properties of water, and how water affects people’s lives socially and economically. I built lesson plans to create water filtration systems, authored a software program to teach coding to students that emphasized the socio-economics of water in Africa, and planned workshop activities where the students could use all the skills they learned during a week-long camping expedition (think Outward Bound meets Outdoor Lab).  The students were so inspired by Watering Communities and working with me that they in turn wanted to help others. They hosted two fundraising events; one for recycling and one financial where the proceeds purchased water filters to be sent to a nonprofit in Thailand. It was during these additional events that Taipei Kuei Shan School heard about the program and adopted it in their curriculum as well. Taipei Kuei Shan School is also working with Watering Communities using the curriculum as a resource in their spring semester for 2020 and plans to again in 2021.

What did you learn about yourself?

When I began interviewing prospective candidates to be on the board of directors for Watering Communities, I felt confident and accomplished. I had taken every skill that I had learned throughout the years of Girl Scouts, from planning to problem solving, to delegating and taking the initiative, that I felt like the president of a company. I set out to educate my five local elementary schools about how something as simple as access to clean water can impact someone’s life and it grew beyond my wildest dreams to being a working 501c3, as well as making connections internationally in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. I initially thought I would run a couple of fun workshops and it grew into working hand-in-hand with our local teachers to supplement their curriculum, into authoring curriculum that is being used internationally in Hong Kong and Tawain, and into coding software for a game. Being able to see kids’ faces light up when they talk about their experiences with the curriculum was amazing.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

By earning my Gold Award, I realized I can use a multitude of skills that will impact my future. I can choose from a variety of leadership skills like project management, delegating, training, and team collaboration. I can use soft skills like interviewing, giving positive feedback for reinforced behavior, and showing kindness to others. I know how to develop networks and how to build up those resources. I can author original curriculum and then customize it to be flexible in different learning environments. I know without a doubt I can take all these skills, and many, many more that I learned along the way while I earned my Gold Award, and apply them for the rest of my life.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

I was very lucky that I had a leader who whole heartedly believed in Girl Scouts being a girl-led experience. She allowed us to plan. She allowed us to problem solve. She allowed us to be in charge. She encouraged us to see outside of the box and to travel; we camped almost every month of the year. Our troop did a group project for our Bronze Award by hosting a garage sale to raise money to purchase pet food and we also organized a blanket and towel donation program for the local pet shelter, and I loved it. I loved organizing and leading the other girls.  For our Silver Award, our troop decided we would earn our Silvers as individuals. When the Navy deploys a submarine for six months, families are allowed to send one shoebox of goodies to be opened at the mid-way point.  Because only 65% of families send shoeboxes, I organized a drive to collect paperback books, treats, snacks, card games, etc. for sailors who would not receive a box. I was able to send enough shoeboxes for two submarines and every sailor onboard also received a box of Thin Mints or Samoas. I knew I could work hard, plan a project from start to finish, and grow my leadership skills. When I worked on my Gold Award, I used all of the skills from making good eye contract during workshops (thank you cookie sales), learning about water as a resource (traveling to Costa Rica, Girl Scout Destinations), planning and organizing events (Father-Daughter dance with 200+ attendees per year, 2013-2018), being grateful (countless charitable experiences with Girl Scouts), and so many more experiences that I can’t list them all that I’ve had with Girl Scouts.  By earning my rank of Gold Award Girl Scout, I was proud of not just what I did to earn it, but of all the experiences that helped to make me the leader I am today.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader?

I view myself as all of these things. Girl Scouting and the Gold Award helped me to become a well-rounded leader who has to be willing to take risks and be vulnerable. I could have simply run workshops and educated others about the impact of lack of access to clean water in rural Africa, and that would have been good enough to earn the Gold Award. I took a risk and authored curriculum for my local area schools and was inspired by the students’ questions and curiosity that I wanted to do more, so I set up and ran Watering Communities as a 501c3 nonprofit to try to get the word out. I had to innovate and custom-write curriculum for an international school in Hong Kong and then again in Taiwan. I had to be a go-getter when I was planning for how Watering Communities would continue function when I left for college.  Interviewing accomplished business leaders and selling them on the idea of being part of the dream so we could continue to work internationally was mind-blowing. The Gold Award process allowed me to use all my skills that I learned throughout scouting to accomplish the original goal and grow it into something grand.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Julia Trujillo, Arvada, “The Period Project: Free and Accessible Menstrual Products for Colorado Schools”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I asked Colorado Representative Brianna Titone to introduce a bill on my behalf. House Bill 1131 creates a grant program to provide funding for free and accessible menstrual products/product dispensers in Title One Colorado schools. I rallied community support and started the conversation about period poverty and period stigma in our state’s government and in my community and beyond.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

The target audience of my Gold Award is girls/menstruators in schools with 75% or more students in free and reduced price  lunch programs. By creating a program that prioritizes getting products into these low-resource schools, I have been able to ensure that my Gold Award will impact those with the greatest need.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

The grant program created, if passed, will be sustained through the state. It has currently cleared the House Education committee and still needs to pass through the Senate, but I’m very hopeful and confident in this because of the bill’s success thus far. If the bill does not pass, my work has still inspired significant initiatives such as the commitments from Jefferson County and Denver Public Schools to provide district-wide products.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

My efforts to eradicate period and poverty started small within my own high school and expanded from there to address the needs of students in my district and finally throughout my state. The attention the bill has gained through various media outlets including a podcast based out of New York will help spread this movement throughout the nation with the help of various organizations and nonprofits I partnered with and secured testimony from such groups as Period.Org, Period Kits Denver, and Free The Period Co. which have all been spreading the word about the bill through social media and blog posts. Period poverty and stigma is rampant worldwide. There is a lot of work to be done to solve this global epidemic. By normalizing periods and providing for menstruating minors in developing  countries, it will become easier for us to view periods as normal aspects of life. Providing products to those in need will become a matter of public health and safety. This will allow our society to begin to prioritize addressing the unmet needs of menstruators all around the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned that I am 100% capable of advocating for my ideas and beliefs, even in the face of opposition and I can respectfully and intelligently disagree and vocalize my disagreement. My project has shown me that my ideas and solutions are worthwhile and can help the world around me. By spending so much time outside of my comfort zone, I’ve expanded my comfort zone. Countless meetings, proposals, presentations, interviews, etc. have made me feel like I can handle any pressure or task.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

My Gold Award has entirely changed my idea of what my future will look like. Going into my project, I was fairly uncertain of what exactly I wanted to do. Throughout my Gold Award journey, I’ve discovered the passion and interest I have in policy and the legislative process. I’ve discovered I want to pursue a career in this area.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

I feel that earning my Gold Award has allowed me to finally put all the leadership skills Girl Scouts armed me with to use. I was able to truly find real life applications to everything I’ve learned over the years about being assertive and creating change when I see a problem.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

I truly feel that I have become a risk-taker. From speaking about taboo, vulnerable issues in a testimony before a legislative committee, to proposing a resolution to my school board, to lobbying to General Assembly members and senators, my Gold Award has put me in countless situations that would have terrified me a year ago. I have learned to believe in myself and believe that if I put in the work and research, I will be heard, and deserve to be heard. Taking risks throughout my Gold Award project has allowed me to become a braver, stronger, and more confident version of myself.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org