New Orleans Girl Scout honored as 2009 National Young Woman of Distinction
Girl Scout Maris of New Orleans was selected as one of only 10 young women nationwide to receive Girl Scouts of the USA’s 2009 National Young Women of Distinction, announced Girl Scouts Louisiana East. Each of the national honorees has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest award in Girl Scouting – and demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the completion of her community action project. The Girl Scout Gold Award is earned by fewer than six percent of all Girl Scouts. Maris, a 17-year old New Orleans native, joins this special group of young women whose projects had far-reaching effects from India, Africa, and China to neighborhoods in California and her own in eastern New Orleans.
“This is the first time a Girl Scout from southeast Louisiana has ever received this national distinction,” said Jackie Alexander, chief executive officer at Girl Scouts Louisiana East. “We are proud of Maris and her commitment to making a difference in her community.”
The devastating loss of trees in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina led Jones to partner with Parkway Partners, an organization focused on urban reforestation. She organized and led efforts to plant 26 caliper trees in her neighborhood in New Orleans East. Her work not only brought friends and neighbors together to beautify the area, but helped to foster an awareness of the increasing need to replace trees in post-Katrina New Orleans.
"I am extremely excited about being chosen as a Young Woman of Distinction. It is such an honor that I will be able to represent to the world what it means to be a Girl Scout from New Orleans, Louisiana, even if it is from half way around the world, " said Maris. She is completing her high school senior year in a two-year program at United World College of the Adriatic in Italy.
The young women will be honored at a special awards ceremony on February 27 during the Girl Scout National Corporate Leadership Meeting in St. Louis. Maris will be traveling to the ceremony from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates upon completion of a school project.
The local council, Girl Scouts Louisiana East, serves girls 5 to 17 in the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. For more information about Girl Scouting or volunteer opportunities in southeast Louisiana, call Girl Scouts Louisiana East in New Orleans at (504) 733-8220 or visit its website at www.gsle.org.
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