Striving to Make a Difference in her Community
Sixteen-year-old Ariana Greenidge enjoyed the break from the rigors of high school this summer, but it wasn’t all sun and fun for this inspired young woman. In pursuit of her Girl Scout Gold Award, Ariana spent a good part of her time off this summer tackling a big issue and coming up with a lasting solution.
“The goal of my project, Savvy Girls, is to teach girls about how they can save and even make money using their skills and talents,” explains Ariana, who got the idea for her Gold Project by noticing how her little sister (Mia) spent rather than saved her money. “I also used to be a spender when I was younger,” admits Ariana. And since financial education isn’t taught in school, she knew focusing her Gold Project on finances made sense.
Representing the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award is open only to girls in high school and challenges them to change the world—or their corner of it—by identifying and solving a community problem and making a lasting impact for years to come. Only 6 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide complete the extensive process of earning their Gold Award.
Completing the seven-step project, from identifying and researching an issue, building a team and taking action to educate and inspire, involves countless hours and investigation and qualifies girls for college scholarships for their efforts. The end goal of the project is to solve a community problem.
Ariana created her project as a three-part workshop for girls and teens. “Part 1 covers why people struggle to save money, Part 2 shows how you can save money and Part 3 is how you can make your own money,” says Ariana, who plans to present the workshop to teens this month. Ariana assembled a team of expert speakers, including a bank representative, financial adviser and a small business owner, to share their expertise with workshop participants.
“I don’t have to be the one to do all the speaking,” Ariana explains wisely. “I coordinated the experts.” When she’s not working on making the world a better place, Ariana likes to play tennis, ride her bike, make jewelry and custom hair bows, play piano and practice speaking and writing Mandarin.
During her 10 years as a Girl Scout, Ariana has participated in many community-minded projects, including hosting a sleepover camp, feeding homeless people and sewing dresses for young girls in Uganda.
“I like all of the opportunities Girl Scouts gives me to help other people,” says Ariana, who looks to her parents as role models and for inspiration. “My parents are big role models to me, because they are really hard workers and do a great job at taking care of our family.” Her family includes her two younger sisters Cali and Mia.
In the future, Ariana aspires to compose soundtracks and do concept art for Cirque du Soleil, or be an architect. Whatever she decides, chances are this motivated teen will succeed with flying colors.