Do passion and hard work really pay off? We say “Yes!”—especially when a girl-power organization like Girl Scouts of the USA stops to celebrate stellar achievements. Meet this year’s National Young Women of Distinction. These teens have gone to the next level by earning their Girl Scout Gold Award and have been selected as the top 10 in the country for their efforts. Each of these girls’ varied passions lead to “take-action” projects on both local and national issues which will make a measurable and sustainable difference in their communities and the lives of others. So keep reading to get ideas for projects that you can take on and click on the video links to get inspired by these amazing gals!

miranda R
Miranda Niemiec, 17 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Northville, MI

Project: CIA (Community Impact Awards)
Created a website to match high school students with service-based organizations to help them keep track of service hours

mandy R
Mandy Justiz, 15 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Austin, TX

Project: Aquatic Education
Educated elementary students on how to protect oceans and designed two school aquariums to spark an interest in all things oceanic

nicole desario
Nicole DeSario, 17 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Belle Mead, NJ

Project: Speak Out: A Workshop on Teen Dating Abuse
Worked to get legislation passed to teach safe dating education in schools in her state

sri muppidi
Sri Muppidi, 16 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

Project: Magic of Maji
Produced a cultural awareness show to raise awareness of the Tanzanian culture

brianna eisert
Brianna Eisert, 15 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Papillion, NE

Project: Children’s Puppet Theater
Created a children’s puppet theater to develop kids’ love for the arts as well as their reading and communication skills in a fun way

zoe gaddegbeku
Zoe Camille Gadegbeku, 17 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Berkeley Lake, GA

Project: The Women In Science & Health Careers Network (W.I.S.H.)
Established youth science clubs and a website for STEM careers

addison clearwood
Addison Clearwood, 17 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Madison, WI

Project: S.A.D. (Stress/Anxiety/ Depression) Out Loud – A Fight Against Ignorance
Founded a school club to inform others about mental illness to help break down barriers

jamila blake
Jamila Blake, 18 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Tampa, FL

Project: Roots for Peace
Formed a school club to draw attention to the hardships teens in Northern Uganda face and to aid Invisible Children

katie jacobson
Katie Jacobson, 17 Hear from her here!

Hometown: St. Charles, IA

Project: The Bat House Project
Working to raise awareness of bats and their usefulness in the environment

kathy rodriguez
Kathy Rodriguez, 17 Hear from her here!

Hometown: Orlando, FL

Project: B2B X-change
Improved English language skills in at-risk children of migrant workers by establishing a library for them at a community center