Our Gold Shines Bright: Dhira’s Story
My name is Dhira, and I was honored to be one of this year’s Gold Award Girl Scouts in western Ohio. For my Gold Award project, I started an online privacy campaign. After Googling my sister for the fun of it, I found a website displaying her name, birthday, address, and phone number. Appalled by how much of our personal information is easily available online, I decided to address the issue of data brokers, or websites that sell personal information.
I gave presentations at community libraries and senior centers to bring awareness to the issue, and to broaden my outreach, I created a website and published a podcast on several global platforms. I also started an online petition proposing that data brokers should be regulated, and I contacted several lawmakers to discuss the issue and share my proposal.
Since my conversation with my state senator, he has looked into introducing a bill to the Ohio Senate to regulate data brokers. I have agreed to testify in the State House when the bill is ready to be brought before our state legislators.
The Gold Award has been such an incredible, empowering experience for me, and I am so glad that I decided to join Girl Scouts years ago. However, campaigns and awards were the least of my worries at the time.
When I was in 4th grade, I decided to run for Student Council in my class. I… did not win the election. I came home that day and told my mom that I wanted to be part of some activity. So I chose the first thing that came to my mind. I wanted to be a Girl Scout.
Little did I know what would come of that spur-of-the-moment decision from a frustrated, 9-year-old me.
Little did I know that my shy, introverted self would soon be going door-to-door, talking to new people, trying to sell cookies. Little did I know that my indoor, bookishness would be challenged when I would be dragged outside to go camping. Little did I know that I would be cleaning latrines!
But, little did I know that I would make some of my best friends as a result of this decision. My troop has become a close-knit family to me. Little did I know that I would learn the importance of giving back to the community. After throwing a party for Alzheimer’s patients as part of the Silver Award, I learned that although these people may not remember me the second I walk out the door, it was worth every effort to put a smile on their faces for the moment.
Being a Girl Scout has transformed who I am. I have gained skills that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Over the years, I have not only been pulled out of my comfort zone, but I have also begun to understand who I want to be. When I made the decision to join Girl Scouts, little did I know that one day I would be working to introduce legislation in the state of Ohio as part of the Gold Award. Through Girl Scouts, I have realized my passion for solving challenges around me and making the world a better place for others at the same time. Girl Scouts, without a doubt, has shaped my life goals.
As you can probably tell by now, there were a lot of things that I didn’t know in 4th grade. If there’s one thing I know now, it’s that I’m glad I didn’t win the 4th grade student council election. All jokes aside, I’m so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to try new things, gain life skills, and find my passions as a Girl Scout. And I’m so grateful that I had the chance to discover who I want to be.
Little do I know what may come next. After this incredible journey, I can only imagine the kinds of experiences I have ahead of me. What I can say for sure is that I will continue working to make the world a better place with the courage, confidence, and character that Girl Scouts has given me. Although my chapter as a Girl Scout may be coming to a close, I know that I will always be a Girl Scout at heart.