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Two Local Girl-Led Non-Profit Organizations Making the World a Better Place

Young girl poses with promotional poster for charity
Helen Gardner, age 8, proudly displays a Paper For Water poster at her cookie booth after meeting the organization’s young co-founders.

Since 1912, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has helped girls develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Girls learn to set goals and make the most of their resources. The revenue from cookie sales is an important source of funding for all Girl Scout programming—but the girls get to decide how to use some of this money too.

GSNETX Troop #8274 is a shining example of service, leadership, and what can be accomplished by young people who want to make the world a better place. Back in 2018, they, like many troops, wanted to find a charity or organization to donate a portion of their cookie profits.

One of the Cadettes had a great idea: Paper for Water, a non-profit organization she heard about on Nickelodeon, founded by Isabella and Katherine Adams when they were only 5 and 8 years old. These two incredible sisters from Dallas are on a mission to help girls worldwide access safe water and sanitation facilities. 

What started as making origami Christmas ornaments in exchange for donations has grown into something truly special–through Paper for Water, they have raised more than $2.5 million and funded over 300 water projects in 20 countries!

The troop immediately reached out after hearing about all this! They invited the sisters to attend a troop meeting to teach them more about the world water crisis. Leigh Bruce, their troop leader, recalled, "meeting Isabelle and Katherine showed the girls they don't have to be adults, rich, or famous to set out and accomplish great things!"

Isabelle and Katherine explained many children in developing countries don't have clean water at home, and girls, in particular, don't have time to attend school because they have to walk long distances to collect water. They challenged the girls in the troop to try hauling heavy water jugs themselves and then taught them all how to make origami hearts and butterflies.

That season the Cadettes’ cookie booths were decorated with their own origami creations to show their support of Paper For Water and its cause. They raised $600 for the organization through cookie sales and ever since then, even as girls have come and gone, they've continued to find ways to show their support.