Tampa, Fla. – Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is proud to recognize Gold Award Girl Scout Elaine Feaster as the recipient of the Girl Scouts of the USA Gold Award Scholarship. Feaster earned $10,000 in honor of her Gold Award project entitled “Literacy Awareness,” which improved literacy rates in the Tampa Bay area.
Feaster created an online literacy resource portal for both adults and children. She collected and donated thousands of books to at-risk students and communities, all stamped with her website address and the phrase “Read. Share. Repeat.” to encourage others to share the book when finished. She also distributed resource packets to 34 at-risk elementary schools in Hillsborough County to aid students who struggle with reading.
Each year, the GSUSA Gold Award Scholarship recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout per council. The Gold Award Girl Scout must demonstrate extraordinary leadership to drive lasting change, and her project must exemplify the core components of the Gold Award.
The prestigious Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, available to girls in high school who create sustainable change in a community. Gold Award Girl Scouts address the root cause of a problem, plan and implement innovative solutions to drive change, and lead a team of people to success.
In total, Feaster has donated over 11,500 books to children and communities in need, through her Silver and Gold Award project.
“I have a passion for helping children be successful, which I put into motion through my Girl Scout service projects,” said Feaster. “Being diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade helped me understand the importance of reading and comprehension, especially in the elementary school years, which influenced my take-action Literacy Awareness projects for my Girl Scout Silver and Gold Award.”
As a recent graduate from Freedom High School, the $10,000 GSUSA scholarship Feaster received will assist with tuition costs as she begins her college career at the USF College of Education this fall. After completing her undergraduate, Feaster plans to get a master's degree in educational leadership. Her goal is to one day turn Scouting for Books into a nonprofit organization.
“Elaine is an extraordinary example of the transformational impact of Girl Scouts in building the courage, confidence and character it takes to make the world a better place,” said GSWCF CEO Mary Pat King. “Elaine maximized her Girl Scout experience by earning the Gold Award, which resulted in scholarships for college, influential mentors supporting her next steps, and thousands of lives impacted by her efforts to improve literacy.”
Not only did Feaster receive the $10,000 GSUSA Gold Award Scholarship. She also earned the local GSWCF Ann Hensler Scholarship of $600. This award was established in 1999 in memory of former GSWCF CEO, Ann Hensler, who was a key driver to elevate the prestige of the Girl Scout Gold Award and establish a council-wide celebration of these young women’s achievements.
Feaster also earned the Junior Achievement Gus and Frances Stavros Family Scholarship and the USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Betty Castor Scholarship. Betty Castor, a former Florida Education Commissioner and USF president, will act as Feaster’s mentor during her undergraduate years at USF.
“Girl Scouts has provided Elaine with opportunities to follow her passions and to make a lasting impact in our community,” said Feaster’s parents. “We’re so very proud of the young woman she has become.”
· Elaine Feaster is available for interview regarding her unique, impactful project and her overall Girl Scouting experience.