Last month the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas honored its Gold Award winners, the highest award that a Girl Scout can receive. To earn it, the girls must spearhead local volunteer projects that make a difference in the community — from helping the homeless to teaching English to refugee children to empowering other young girls.

Here are the winners, a.k.a. our future leaders, from Preston Hollow:

Leah Bartlett

Girl Scout Troop 589, Vickery Meadows Summer Reading Before School Program

Leah collaborated with the Vickery Meadows Summer Reading Academy (VMSRA) to create a safe and healthy environment for kids prior to the start of their school day. With the help of volunteers, Leah designed and delivered fun activities that emphasized how to remain safe, encouraging students to always walk with a buddy, set goals, and work together. The VMSRA Before School Program also gives kids a chance to burn off energy before their English and reading classes begin. Her ideas, tools, and materials have all been donated to VMSRA to continue her program. Leah will graduate from Ursuline Academy in 2016.

Lindsay Beach

Girl Scout Troop 589, St. Mary of Carmel Volleyball Camp

Lindsay planned and implemented a week-long volleyball camp for girls entering grades 5-8 at St. Mary of Carmel Catholic School, located in West Dallas. This camp provided girls from financially disadvantaged homes a chance to participate in a free summer camp. Lindsay taught them the rules of volleyball, how to stretch properly and drills to improve their skills. The camp will be continued annually by the school and will include the instruction guide that Lindsay created. Lindsay will graduate from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 2016.

Danielle Berg

Girl Scout Troop 8787, Rosie’s Room

Danielle’s project focused on collaborating with Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to educate the community about child abuse and the foster care system. She planned and implemented a new room called Rosie’s Room, named after her grandmother, who helped found the Dallas organization. Rosie’s Room provides opportunities for short-term volunteers, an option that was previously not available. While educating the community, she promoted a variety of donations that weren’t normally collected. Her drive provided enough items to last over three years, as well as a permanent location for storage and volunteers to stay involved. Danielle graduated from Episcopal School of Dallas in 2014.

Samantha Flaim

Girl Scout Troop 306, We Love to Read!

Samantha’s goal was to encourage the youth in the Vickery Meadows community to embrace reading over the summer, where most youth aren’t encouraged to read and don’t understand the value that reading adds toward school or work. The Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation provided the youth with 12 books to read each summer. With the help of volunteers, Samantha procured book donations and organized a book club to foster an enjoyment of reading. She also created an extensive how-to manual that Vickery Meadows will use to continue the program each summer. Samantha will graduate from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 2015.

Katherine Glogowski

Girl Scout Troop 306, Internet Café

Katherine designed and implemented an Internet café at St. Mary of Carmel in West Dallas for over 200 students to utilize. Her café included ten laptops, ten docking stations, a portable projector and refurbished tables and chairs. Katherine’s café will give students access to a variety of educational tools including news and resources for research materials to aid in studying, allowing students to work in a more productive area. She created a “how-to” manual for the school and posted it on the Internet for others to use as a model. Katherine will graduate from Ursuline Academy in 2015.

Jacqueline Grindinger

Girl Scout Troop 1834, St. Rita Alter Serving

Jacqueline collaborated with St. Rita Catholic Church and their Altar Serving program. She made “how-to” books, led trainings, organized and redecorated the altar serving room, and produced a training video to help each Altar Server feel more comfortable during Mass. Two instruction booklets are now permanently in the altar room for servers to review prior to each Mass. Her work will instill confidence in Altar Servers that will allow smooth execution of the ceremony and a prayerful environment for parishioners. Jacqueline graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 2014.

Erin McWilliams

Girl Scout Troop 1677, Helping Homeless Project

Erin created awareness around the issue of homelessness to encourage youth to volunteer at her agency, The Family Gateway. She presented information to student organizations, organized a toiletry drive to assist the residents at the agency, then, with the help of volunteers, she redesigned, reorganized, and restocked the donation closet at The Family Gateway. The agency is now meeting community needs in a more efficient and productive manner. The Community Service Club at her school has adopted this project and will continue it going forward. Erin graduated from the Episcopal School of Dallas in 2014.

Kit Popolo

Girl Scout Troop 330, Girls for Art!

Kit planned and implemented an art camp for 50 girls through Girls Inc., an organization that provides hands-on, research based programs for girls to set goals, overcome obstacles and improve academic performance. The art camp encouraged imagination and creativity through the use of many different art mediums including chalk pastel, watercolor, acrylic paint and collaging. Girls Inc. plans to continue her program using additional supplies she provided. Kit will graduate from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 2016.

Emily Reese

Girl Scout Troop 589, Austin Street Shelter Teen Board

Girl Scout Troop 589. Emily collaborated with the Austin Street Shelter where she created a Teen Board to increase youth interaction with the homeless shelter’s clients and their needs. Through the Teen Board, and with the help of volunteers, Emily organized the donation closet, played Bingo with the residents, made and delivered inspirational cards, and created crafts to be used at the shelter. Emily then established a club at her school to continue this relationship and worked with other Dallas private schools to encourage more members to join the Teen Board. Emily will graduate from Ursuline Academy in 2016.

Sera Tuz

Girl Scout Troop 1465, Refugee Integration

Sera teamed with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help with the integration of refugees into their local community. The IRC assists with helping others find jobs and schools and give them security. However, the IRC is unable to spend a lot of time educating them about their new environment. With the help of volunteers, Sera created a booklet with information about the city of Dallas to fill this void. She presented the information to the refugees and trained the volunteers on its use. The IRC will continue to use this booklet in the future. Sera will graduate from Greenhill School in 2015.

Katherine Yager

Girl Scout Troop 1687, Sweet Dreams at Camp Sweeney

When one of Katherine’s best friends was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (JD), she knew that creating awareness about this disease would be the focus of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. With the help of volunteers, Katherine ran more than 10 workshops to make no-sew pillows for Camp Sweeney, a camp for children with JD and their siblings. More than 150 pillows and 50 kits were made while the volunteers learned more about the disease. She then delivered the materials and provided a template for the activities to be continued at Camp Sweeney each session. Katherine will graduate from The Hockaday School in 2016.

Laura Yzaguirre

Girl Scout Troop 1834, Animal Supplies and Needs

Laura’s project addressed the issue of pet overpopulation, the comfort of animals at veterinary clinics and Operation Kindness. She educated more than 100 people about what it takes to be a good pet owner, how to prevent pet overpopulation, and ways to help clinics and animal shelters. She encouraged participants to donate towels, food and blankets to ensure the comfort of the animals, eventually collecting more than 600 towels and blankets. Several schools where she made presentations will continue to volunteer and donate materials in the future. Laura graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 2014.