March 8, marks International Women’s Day, a day that reflects on the social, economic, cultural, and political leadership and achievement of women. In celebration, Girl Scouts River Valleys is proud to announce our inaugural Young Women of Distinction—local Girl Scouts who are making the world a better place through their extraordinary leadership and service to their communities.
2017 Young Women of Distinction Honorees
This year’s Young Women of Distinction are inspiring role models to girls in their communities and serve as incredible examples of what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.
Sudi Adow, Century High School
Sudi has always known that she wants to make a difference in her community. As a Muslim immigrant from Kenya, she’s also aware of the additional challenges she faces on her path to success. Sudi decided to tackle such challenges head on, working hard to prove herself and show people just what she’s capable of.
As head of her Robotics team, a top lead on her competitive mock trial team, and a varsity cheerleader, Sudi’s not afraid to speak her mind. She uses her voice to advocate for herself and others, including other young Muslim women within her community. She regularly gives her time and talents to support community initiatives and organizations focused on education, STEM, and girls.
Sudi has been a part of Girl Scouts ConnectZ—River Valleys’ initiative to engage underserved girls—for three years now. She is grateful for the opportunities that ConnectZ provides, and loves that it gives her a voice and a chance to be a role model to others. She recently testified at a legislative hearing about Girl Scouts ConnectZ, advocating for the program, its impact, and why additional funds are so critical to building a bright future for all girls.
Sudi’s ConnectZ troop leader, Shai, praises Sudi’s determination to inspire girls like her to be brave and take risks for what they believe in, too.
Rachelle Johnson, Eden Prairie High School
Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD in elementary school, Rachelle Johnson faced many challenges and obstacles when it came to academic success. Inspired by her personal journey to overcome her own learning differences, Rachelle developed a passion for helping others with learning disabilities gain the confidence, self-esteem, tools, and determination to achieve academic success.
In her sophomore year of high school, Rachelle founded the Eden Prairie High School club Unique Learners Rising Above. The club meets monthly with speakers on topics such as self-advocacy, mindfulness, and study strategies—providing a safe place for students to learn at their own pace. The club has sponsored community screenings of “ADD & Loving It!?” and “Misunderstood Minds” followed by student panels to educate and create community support. Rachelle presented a webinar for International Dyslexia Association (IDA) titled “Dyslexia & ADD: Obstacles, not Roadblocks, to Academic Success,” drawing a record audience of over 100 people nationwide.
Rachelle is a regular volunteer for many community organizations centered on different abilities, diversity, and inclusion. She was recently presented with the Youth Human Rights Award by the Eden Prairie Human Rights and Diversity Commission.
As her Girl Scout troop leader Mary Kay states, “Rachelle is an extraordinary young leader and role model. She is truly an ambassador for Girl Scouts, elevating community awareness on the great things Girl Scouts can accomplish.”
River Valleys’ 2017 Young Women of Distinction Honorees were selected from dozens of exceptional young women across our region who demonstrate outstanding courage, confidence, and character who work to make the world a better place.
Young Women of Distinction Nominees
Houa Feng Yang
Kouzoua Chong Yang
Yuriko Paz Basturdo
Young Women of Distinction Honorees Rachelle and Sudi will be recognized along with three adult honorees at our 2017 Invest in Girls. Change the World. Women of Distinction signature fundraising event—a celebration of the amazing impact that local women leaders, Girl Scouts River Valleys, and girls are making on their communities and the world!
Please join us in recognizing these remarkable girls on Thursday, May 11, 2017.
Tickets, event details, and sponsorships are available here.