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Larissa – Changing Myself

At the start of her freshman year in high school, Larissa’s world turned upside down – she and her four younger siblings were removed from their home after Child Protective Services learned her mother and stepfather had dangerous substance abuse problems.

Although Larissa and her siblings were placed in a safe environment, she struggled tremendously in foster care.

“During this rough time, I was going through a lot of problems and getting into a lot of trouble,” she says. “I was not going to school. I missed my mother, and I had to work hard to support my little brother and sisters.”

To help, her social worker arranged for Larissa to have a mentor, and it was that mentor who first brought up Girl Scouts – specifically, a mentoring and leadership program called Camp CEO.  

While at camp, Larissa learned about another Girl Scout program called Got Choices, which guides and empowers at-risk and adjudicated girls to make positive changes in their lives through enhanced life skills, informed decision making, healthier relationships, service opportunities, and leadership.

“During my time in foster care, Got Choices made me realize I have a future and I need to take care of myself and set a better example for my siblings,” Larissa says. “I started going to school again, passing all my classes. I was being helpful with my family and being involved with Got Choices.”

Larissa leapt at the opportunities Girls Scouts sent her way.

“Last year, I was selected to be a peer leader at Camp CEO which helped build my public speaking skills and helped me become a stronger person mentally and physically. I am much better at working with other people now,” she says. “Being in Lead the Way has helped me become open minded, and helped me to think about my future. It taught me how to make good decisions and manage my time.”

Her extraordinary journey became even more exceptional this March, when Larissa was one of 5 girls from Girl Scouts NorCal selected to present at the United Nation’s 57th Session of Commission on the Status of Women in a session called “Girls Ending the Cycle: Combating Inter-Generational Violence Through Leadership and Empowerment.”

“This was such an honor for me – we had to work hard and step outside our comfort zones but it was so amazing to have my voice heard,” Larissa says.

Today, Larissa and her siblings are back with their mother, who has been clean for two years. Larissa is committed to helping her brothers and sisters lead successful lives, is planning to graduate from high school early – and wants to major in social work in college.

“Got Choices kept me busy during the rough times and helped me make goals and keep them,” Larissa says. “It’s not only benefited me but my family also because of the difference they’ve seen in me. I’m satisfied with myself and the person I’ve become … Girl Scouts helped make me a better person.”

The Campaign for Girls

For 101 years, Girl Scouts has provided girls like Sri with more ways to learn and lead that any other organization.

With your help, Girl Scouts of Northern California’s Campaign for Girls will raise $20 million that will benefit our 50,000 girl members – and thousands more who have yet to experience all Girl Scouting has to offer.

Everything we do for girls depends on our supporters - those who believe girls have unlimited potential and that Girl Scouting is the best way for girls to tap into that. We invite you to partner with us in the Campaign for Girls. Learn how at