Our Youth

Let Them Speak: A Girl Scout’s Honor: Peace Begins With Me

Bishop Kearney student Grace Aulisa, center, with her parents after receiving the Maloof Family Young Peacebuilder award from Pax Christi Metro New York. Grace’s essay below shares how her Girl Scout troop helps to make the world a more peaceful place by empowering other young girls. (Photos: Melissa Enaje)

 

By Grace Aulisa

Faith is a very powerful thing, which can affect the way people act, think and view the world. As a young Catholic attending a parochial high school, I hold my morals and values close to my heart.

Aulisa

Similar to religion, Girl Scouts instills important values into girls and helps shape them into young women who are eager to “make the world a better place,” as explicitly stated in the Girl Scout Law. This mission is exactly why I have devoted much of my time to being a girl scout for the last ten years, surrounding myself with other young women like myself, eager to grow in their faith while also helping others.

Grace’s winning essay was featured at the Pax Christi Metro New York award ceremony.

Being a young woman in today’s society is not easy since it often seems that we must live up to unreasonable standards. The so-called “role models” we look up to and strive to be like, most of the time, end up hurting our self-esteem. Similarly, we tend to judge people subconsciously and find ourselves commenting on the clothes they wear or the way their hair is styled. Though we do not mean to be critical of other young girls and most of the time don’t even realize we are doing something wrong, as teenagers, it is just the way we sometimes can be.

My faith influences my stance on this issue, since in the Catholic religion, I was always taught to treat others how I would like to be treated. I would never want to be judged by others for trivial things like this and neither would my fellow scouts. That is why regardless of whether this judgment of others is technically bullying or not, my troop and I consider it to be. Therefore, we have dedicated much of our last few years to learning more about ways to solve this issue during our meetings and through our projects.

The culmination of our research and discussions on self-empowerment was to create a display in our meeting place for all the scouts in our site to see. The display was made up of inspirational quotes, stories and photos that were handpicked by us to help us to help boost girls’ self-esteem.

The board was displayed for the younger Girl Scouts to see, so that they would always remember that they are perfect just the way they are right now. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder that nothing or no one should make them feel differently about that. This project resonated with me especially since it was meant to employ prayer, active love and nonviolence as a force of change, which are all key components of my Catholic faith.

Grace shared the special ceremony with her family members who are also Kearney H.S. alumna, her mom and aunt who was also her Confirmation sponsor.
David Maloof also gave the Young Peacebuilders award to two other high school students.
Grace's award at Pax Christi Metro New York.
The Bishop Kearney H.S. student showcases how her essay spoke about peace.
Fr.Francis Gargani - C.Ss.R, Pax Christi Metro New York Board President welcomes those gathered at Xavier H.S. in Manhattan.
Peacemakers Awards Reception at Xavier H.S.
Plowshares Activists with Pax Christi Award winners.

 

Another line in our law is, “Be a sister to every Girl Scout.” It is a simple line with an empowering message that we take to heart and share with others every time we recite it at our meetings.

If it weren’t for Girl Scouts, my troop and I would not have a place to discuss these morals that we hold so dear to us. Through our work in scouts, we learned that we are all incredible young women who should build each other up rather than tear each other apart for trivial reasons. In addition to boosting our self-esteem, this also strengthened our faith.

That is why I am so thankful that scouts has made such a difference in my life, enabling me to make the world a better place and be a sister to every girl scout, as well as be a well-rounded Catholic.

Participating in Girl Scouts has helped me recognize the benefits of a diverse community. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with young women from all different backgrounds and religions, as we all attempt to make the world a better place.

Though we all have different interests, we do share one crucial ideal: Each of us has a personal and communal responsibility to build a peaceful world.

Editor’s Note: Information regarding the Young Peacebuilder Award in fall 2018 can be found by clicking this link: HERE.


Aulisa is a junior at Bishop Kearney H.S., Bensonhurst.

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