Hollister High senior Kayla Salazar was recently chosen as a 2023 Girls Inc. National Scholar for her efforts to encourage and empower her peers to be “strong, smart and bold,” says a press release.
Salazar is one of only three recipients in the U.S. and Canada to be awarded the $25,000 Suzanne Patmore Gibbs Courage Scholarship from Girls Inc. “She was selected for her outstanding academic achievements, community service work and dedication to the Girls Inc. mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold,” says the press release from Girls Inc. of the Central Coast.
Salazar has been a participant in Girls Inc. CC since she was in seventh grade. Since 11th grade, she has been a Youth Leader and Facilitator in the organization. According to the press release, Salazar credits Girls Inc. CC for helping her find a safe space where she could learn and be a leader.
“Girls Inc. gave me the opportunity to become a youth leader where I facilitated workshops at the very same middle school I attended,” Salazar said. “It is fulfilling to help my community and younger peers avoid drug usage. Instead of falling into a statistic, Girls Inc. inspired me to make healthy choices, resist negative pressures and aid others. Most importantly, I realized that I do not have to follow in other’s footsteps and that I can shape my own future.”
Salazar’s dream is to attend UCLA to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and attend law school and become an attorney in California, the press release says.
Girls Inc. is a national organization that provides programs in the U.S. and Canada to address the strengths and needs of girls age 8-18. The programs focus on empowerment, health and leadership in preparing girls for economic independence and confident adulthood, says the press release.
Girls Inc. of the Central Coast serves San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
Two other Central Coast students—Vanessa Campos and Chinemerem Elelleh of Soledad High School—were also recently chosen as 2023 Girls Inc. National Scholars. They were each awarded the $5,000 Girls Inc. Lucile Miller Wright Scholarship.