Unique Learners Gold Award Project

blog-unique-learnersRachelle Johnson (far right) with her club’s co-vp’s – Star (middle right) and Evan Thoreson (middle left) – and project advisor, Julie Sowatzka (far left).

It is stories like these that remind us what an impact Gold Award projects can have on our communities. We are so thankful to Rachelle for the great work she is doing and for sharing her story with us.

Unique Learners Rising Above

By Rachelle Johnson, Prairie Sun Service Unit Girl Scout and Eden Prairie High School Sophomore

Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD in early elementary, I had to work harder than my classmates to do equally well in school. Over time, I noticed other kids with learning differences not succeeding or even giving up academically. Often I’d be asked what set me apart, and why I had not given up like so many students like me. I developed a passion for helping others with learning disabilities to gain the confidence, self-esteem, tools, and determination to achieve academic success. It was a natural fit for my Gold Award project.

For my Gold Award project I have helped students with learning differences achieve academic success. I’ve worked with LDA Minnesota and International Dyslexia Association – Upper Midwest Branch as a planning volunteer for their regional conferences and planned and participated on student panels. At Eden Prairie High School, I founded and am president of Unique Learners Rising Above, a club for students with learning differences interested to achieve academic success. We have monthly speakers on topics such as motivation, mindfulness, test-taking strategies, college planning, and more. On October 21, we hosted a screening of the documentary “ADD & Loving It?” followed by a professional and student panel.

One of things I’m most proud of is the frequent outreach of parents and students sharing their stories and seeking my advice and mentorship. It’s so rewarding to help kids find ways to improve their self-advocacy skills and be okay with their unique learning style.

As a final component of my Gold Award, I will be presenting a webinar for IDA-UMB on my story of overcoming learning challenges to achieve high academic success. My career goal is to one day work in the disability field performing diagnostics and helping kids overcome their unique learning challenges.

Read the article about Rachelle’s project from Eden Prairie News.


  1. Sandy Darst says

    How can we attend the webinar? My daughter has ADHD, and I would love for her to learn how to overcome her unique learning challenges.

    • Girl Scouts River Valleys says

      Hi Sandy, thank you for your interest! I will reach out to her with your contact information so she can provide you with more information!

    • Rachelle Johnson says

      The date of the IDA-UMB presentation is Thursday, January 28. You can register to receive emails from International Dyslexia Association — Upper Midwest Branch on their website. The presentation will cover how I’ve learned to cope with all my struggles (ADD, dyslexia, and anxiety). Another organization you might be interested in is SW Metro ADHD Connection, a free parent support group that meets in Eden Prairie the second Monday of the month 7:00-8:30 pm. Evan, Star, and I will be on a panel discuss for their December 14 meeting. See facebook page SW Metro ADHD Connection for more details or email sw-metro@chadd.net to be added to their distribution list. ~ Rachelle