Gold Award Girl Scout Grace Improved Education Equity
A root cause of the inequality and injustice that is pervasive throughout society is the lack of an equitable education system. Many children from financially stable families are able to obtain the help they need with their studies. They tend to get better grades and have an easier pathway to a better life than kids from low-income families.
As I reflected on this inequality, the idea for my Gold Award project emerged. I created Step By Step Tutoring Inc., a nonprofit with the mission to help Long Island teenagers give back to their communities by tutoring children from low-income families over Zoom. My hope was that I would not only have tutors teaching students but also the students teaching my tutors.
To make Step By Step Tutoring Inc. a reality, I researched lawyers and found James Hsui, who specializes in nonprofit law. He kindly agreed to guide me through the legal process of starting a nonprofit. I also created a board of directors that supported me through the process. I set up meetings with them to share my vision of Step By Step Tutoring Inc. and what I wanted each person to do. We worked together to create what our nonprofit is today.
While I was determined to achieve the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive, the coveted Gold Award, I had to remember why I was really doing this. This wasn’t something just for my Gold Award; this would benefit many children and help our community address a major social issue.
Sticking to my mission is what helped me overcome the mental obstacles I faced. I was stressed a lot. Sometimes it was hard to handle everything, from filing forms and appointing members to creating social media posts. But through my project, I discovered that I love leading, I love to organize, and I love working for the greater good.
I also learned a tremendous amount about my own values by earning the Gold Award. One student in particular, Barry, helped me open my eyes to a new perspective. One day, I was tutoring in my room as usual and suddenly he commented, “You’ve got really nice walls!” At first I was confused. Then I looked closely at his background. His walls were less appealing than my own, maybe even still under construction. Tutoring Barry helped me realize that I’m extremely lucky and privileged to grow up in my community. I’d never imagined how hard life could be for people outside my community. I realized that there is so much more to be grateful for in my everyday life.
My Gold Award project will have a long legacy. When I graduate high school, I will appoint a new president and an entirely new board of young high school students to continue Step By Step Tutoring Inc. And my hope is that it will continue to be passed down in hopes that many more of my peers learn the importance of using whatever privilege they may have to help kids who have less of it access what many of us have already been given.