Pooja Nagpal, an Indian-American from Greater Los Angeles, was recently named recipient of 2015 National Young Women of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of United States of America (GSUSA). Pooja, along with nine other young women honorees will be celebrated Oct. 7 at the Edith Macy Conference Center in New York.
“Our 2015 National Young Women of Distinction have demonstrated remarkable leadership through their extraordinary “Take Action projects,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “At such a young age, these girls are creating positive change in their communities, identifying local solutions that relate to global issues, and taking sustainable action to make a difference in the world. We are proud to recognize the contributions and achievements of these exceptional girls and cannot wait to see how they continue to inspire, influence, and innovate as the leaders and social entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” according to a GSUSA press release quoting Maria Chávez.
Extraordinary females are receiving the highest Girl Scout honor because their Gold Award projects demonstrate extraordinary leadership, have measurable impact and sustainability, and address a local, national, and/or global issue. From addressing the decline in bee populations and working to stop violence against women to providing wider access to an array of educational tools for people of varying ages, these girls are igniting meaningful change in their communities and around the globe.
Nagpal’s project focused on ending violence against women worldwide by teaching self-defense to women and girls in rural villages in Himachal Pradesh, India, and battered women’s shelters in Los Angeles, California.
As a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, who is also trained in street fighting, Pooja created a two-part curriculum that not only successfully strengthened girls’ and women’s physical abilities but also exercised their mental acuity through discussions and activities around leadership, community service, confidence, and education.
This past year she founded “For a Change, Defend”, a non-profit, and spoke at numerous events to raise awareness around domestic violence and female empowerment. The Girl Scout Gold Award, which turns 100 in 2016, represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. According to Girl Scout research, Gold Award recipients rate their overall success in life significantly higher than non-recipients and report greater success in reaching their life goals.
Moreover, they feel their accomplishments in their lives (95 percent), their education (94 percent), their careers (92 percent), and their financial life (78 percent) are largely due to the unique experiences they had and the skills they developed through the Girl Scout program.