Taryn-Marie Jenkins '19 has enjoyed 13 years as a Girl Scout. As she moved through the various ranks of the organization, Jenkins realized that scouting offered her opportunities for personal growth, chances to try new things, and experiences to share with other girls. She also recognized that her participation in Girl Scouts provided her with an added layer of support to help her accomplish her dreams.
This self-awareness, along with a deep appreciation for the benefits she received from having a loving family who provided her with a solid educational foundation and enriching experiences, led Jenkins to set her sights on earning the highest ranking in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award. Jenkins did earn the coveted Gold Award for her work dedicated to helping foster care youth transition to college, and her project was reviewed by the Girl Scout organization. On October 11, 2019, the International Day of the Girl Scouts, Jenkins and nine other Gold Award recipients from across the country traveled to New York City where they were introduced as 2019’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts.
Jenkins wanted to complete a project that would benefit young people who were not fortunate enough to share the many opportunities that she has. She researched the foster care system and was surprised and saddened to learn that only one in ten foster care youth transition from high school to some form of college. She felt that more could be done to increase that percentage. Jenkins worked with the Child Placement Review Board in Delaware and was able to directly ask foster children what they needed in terms of prepping for college, getting admitted, and then being able to focus and succeed once they were there.
Using that data, Jenkins created a website full of information to assist the foster care youth with the college process. She created a tip sheet, which has been adopted by Trunks for Love, an organization dedicated to helping those without resources do well in college. Jenkins also packed Dorm Kits, donations of college essentials that were distributed to local foster care teens preparing for higher education.
“This year’s National Gold Award Girl Scouts have truly distinguished themselves as visionary leaders,” said Girl Scout USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “In a time when an increasing number of young people are using their voices to come together and take action, these girls stand out. They have made an incredible impact in the worlds of STEM, education, agriculture, the environment, civil rights, and beyond. While they are making the world a better place, they are also investing in themselves; Gold Award Girl Scouts are more likely to earn college scholarships and achieve higher education and career outcomes, and they can enlist in the military at a higher pay grade. We’re proud to support Girl Scouts across the country as they drive meaningful and lasting change in their communities and beyond.”
Jenkins, now a freshman at Hampton University, concluded: “Being a National Gold Award Girl Scout opens up doors for me, without a question. But that’s not really the point. When you’re lucky enough to have support in your life, you’ve got to use it to support others—and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.”