Congratulations to Katie Pleiss, Grand Prize Winner of the Natural Life Give, Love, Laugh Scholarship!
The Natural Life Give, Love, Laugh Scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior who has made a passionate and meaningful impact in her community, and Katie certainly has! We are so proud of her, and grateful to be a part of her journey--we know it will take her far. Keep reading for Katie's bio and see how far she's already come!
"I began my involvement with Girl Talk during my freshman year. Despite finding new friends and successfully transitioning to high school, my freshman year was fairly unremarkable; I was not involved in many clubs and I did not really feel I had a purpose. All of this changed when my friend, Hanna Meyers, asked for my help starting a Girl Talk Chapter at our school. Because I felt I needed to join something, I agreed to help, knowing very little about what Girl Talk entailed. I signed up to be a counselor at Girl Talk Camp that summer to learn more about the organization and immediately discovered the passion that I was waiting to find. I saw girls who were once shy radiate confidence, and all they really needed was love and support. I quickly realized that I needed to recreate this in my school. Girl Talk Camp helped me discover a passion I had for helping girls gain the confidence they deserve.
Sophomore year came quickly, and I started work on the Chapter right away. By September, we had 20 girls attending regularly. My passion for female mentorship did not stop there; I joined Teen Advisory Board (TAB) to help Girl Talk grow and to gain insight from mentors, myself. I also worked with the administration at my sister’s middle school, Springmont, to extend the Galloway Chapter and mentor the girls there. My plate was full of Girl Talk activities, but I could see the impact I was making, which made it all worth it.
By the time senior year came along, my passion for service was clear. Because of this, the faculty at my school suggested I apply to the GivingPoint Institute, a social entrepreneurship program where high school students can learn how to start their own non-profit project. I was accepted to GivingPoint, and, with Girl Talk as the inspiration, I decided to start Lead to Learn, a tutoring and mentoring program where high school girls tutor and mentor middle school girls at public middle schools.
I knew that public schools can be under-resourced, and hoped to implement a program where girls would get individual attention so that they could stay motivated to succeed in school and learn to handle difficult social situations. The project was not easy; it tested my abilities and leadership skills. However, when we started at Sutton Middle School in January, it was a quick success. We currently have fifteen girls who attend Lead to Learn weekly so that they can improve their grades and also gain insight during our discussions on topics of their choice.
I absolutely love Girl Talk and simply cannot express how grateful I am to have been apart of this organization. I have been taught so many valuable leadership skills and have met so many inspiring people during my time with Girl Talk, and I know this knowledge will stay with me throughout my life."
And, Katie, we are so grateful that you are a part of the Girl Talk Family! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring others to find and follow their passion, serve others, and persevere. We wish you all the best in your next chapter!
the Girl Talk Team