Girl Scouts of the USA named Miami Palmetto Senior High School’s Kelly Culhane a 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scout, the organization’s most prestigious honor. Culhane is the first Girl Scout from Miami and the Keys to achieve this highest national honor.
Each year, thousands of girls in grades 9-12 nationwide are recognized as Gold Award Girl Scouts for transforming an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with strong impact on local, national, and global levels. Approximately five percent of Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award each year—and just ten girls receive the National Gold Award Girl Scout distinction. Applications are judged by previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, leaders from a diverse array of professional fields, GSUSA executives, and a representative from the Kappa Delta Foundation.
“We are extraordinarily proud of Kelly, and all our Gold Award Girl Scouts, for exemplifying the values of Girl Scouts and commitment to serving our community with such important work,” said Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO, Girl Scouts Tropical Florida.
For her Gold Award Project, Kelly partnered with Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing Foundation, an educational nonprofit organization. A massive 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and one in five teens in the United States now has NIHL by age 19 due to their exposure to damaging levels of sound from personal audio devices and noisy entertainment venues. Culhane set out to inform teens, parents, and educators about this permanent, yet preventable, form of hearing damage. Working with Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing Foundation, she scripted, filmed, and edited an educational video, “Band Together to Protect Your Hearing,” which is used in the foundation’s teacher training workshops for 392 schools in Miami-Dade County.
Culhane has educated elementary and high school students about hearing conservation, presented on this topic at a statewide music educators conference, and presented to 125 teachers at a professional development workshop. Kelly has also created and distributed educational posters and informative brochures to pediatric offices and hospitals statewide. She plans to expand this distribution to a nationwide campaign.
To honor the National Gold Award Girl Scouts, a combined $100,000 in college scholarships, which includes $10,000 for Culhane, has been provided by Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors. The Kappa Delta Foundation has granted the selected girls a combined $50,000 in college scholarships, reflecting its commitment to girls’ leadership and pursuit of education and Arconic Foundation has granted the ten young women a combined $50,000 in college scholarships.
Pictured: Chelsea Wilkerson, Girl Scouts Tropical Florida CEO; Kelly Culhane; Johnette Hardiman, GS Tropical Council Board Chair