On behalf of the entire GSGLA council, we would like to congratulate Anna H. on being selected as one of the recipients of the 2023 Girl Scouts of the USA Gold Award Scholarship!
This scholarship recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout per council who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership to drive lasting change in their community and beyond. Anna will be able to use her scholarship toward tuition, fees, books, and supplies required for coursework at accredited institutions in the United States to continue her education.
Anna’s Gold Award Project, titled "Steps to Specs," addressed the critical issue of the lack of access to glasses for millions of people in need. With approximately 2.5 billion individuals worldwide requiring glasses but lacking the means to attain them, the detrimental impact on their quality of life cannot be overlooked. This disparity is particularly evident in Los Angeles, where thousands of Angelenos struggle with insufficient insurance coverage, making the cost of glasses unaffordable.
Anna's Gold Award aimed to bridge this gap by creating a free glasses program in collaboration with Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California Medical Center. The project involved a meticulous process of collecting and sanitizing over 4,000 pairs of gently used glasses, building a website with a searchable catalog to match available glasses with specific prescriptions, and distributing the glasses to patients in need. Each patient's unique story highlighted the impact of the project, from restoring the joy of reading after years of inability to do so, to enabling individuals to return to work.
When asked more about her project, Anna detailed, "I gave out 1,000 pairs of glasses, ten times the amount I set out to distribute. This would not have been possible without the support of the people in my town who donated droves of gently used glasses, the optometrists who taught me how to measure glasses, and the doctors who connected me to patients in need […] Each pair distributed is incredibly unique and special to me. When [a patient] smiled or hugged me after putting on their glasses, I was reminded of the reason I began this project.”
Anna, congratulations on your outstanding Gold Award Project! Your dedication and hard work are truly inspiring. We are excited to see the positive impact you will continue to make. Keep up the fantastic work!