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Arianna Lopez Awarded Girls Inc. National Scholar
updated: Feb 25, 2015, 7:30 PM

By Girls Inc. of Carpinteria

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is proud to announce that Arianna Lopez, an 18-year-old senior and a long-time Girls Inc. of Carpinteria participant, has been selected as a 2015 scholarship winner in the competitive Girls Inc. National Scholar Program. She was awarded $20,000 to be applied toward furthering her education and attaining a college degree.

Girls Inc. National Scholars are outstanding young women selected for exemplifying the Girls Inc. mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. They are role models for other girls who demonstrate a commitment to achieving academically and serving their communities. This year, Girls Inc. awarded 31 high school girls scholarships for educational expenses at any accredited college or university, from a record-high pool of applicants.

Arianna joins a list of 18 other young girls from Girls Inc. of Carpinteria to be named a National Scholar. With a strong history of producing Girls Inc. National Scholars, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria comes in at #7 for highest number of National Scholars compared to the rest of the affiliates throughout the nation (there are 82 total affiliates nationwide).

"We are beyond thrilled to see Arianna receive this prestigious, well-deserved award and be named a Girls Inc. National Scholar," said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. "Arianna is an incredible young leader who proves that with the right support, all girls can achieve success and change their communities for the better. We're proud to be developing the next generation of young female leaders at Girls Inc. and look forward to seeing Arianna continue to reach great heights."

As a young girl, Arianna battled illness, including a head injury at the age of five. She has been with Girls Inc. of Carpinteria for 14 years and has participated in nearly every program the organization offers, building resilience, developing a support network, and acquiring the skills she needed to become an advocate for the Carpinteria community.

Arianna, who has completed over 2,600 community service hours, spent six years successfully nurturing a diverse local coalition to ban smoking in the city of Carpinteria. She and her peers researched, attended trainings, cultivated local businesses, educated community members, and spoke at City Council meetings. The ban went into effect on May 16, 2011, reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and decreasing tobacco-related litter in the community.

"Arianna's journey has always been positive by her own doing and she has had an undisputed impact on her peers and younger girls through her empathy, strength and leadership skills," said Asa Olsson, former cultural arts director at Girls Inc., who first met Arianna as a first-grader in the drama program at Girls Inc. "She sets her goals high and sees the occasional stumbling blocks as challenges to be conquered. It's been a privilege seeing her grow up to become the young woman she is today - an outstanding advocate and spokesperson for a healthy community and for the rights of women and girls."

In 2014, she was recognized for her community service by Radio Disney with a "Hero for Change" award, for highlighting the risks smoking holds and helping make Carpinteria a smoke-free city.

Through Girls Inc. programs and events, Arianna says she met inspiring girls and encouraging women made her want to strive to be like them. She also credits an experience meeting creators at DreamWorks through Girls Inc. for sparking her interest in graphic design.

"I am ecstatic and feel so fortunate to have been selected as a Girls Inc. National Scholarship recipient," said Ariana, currently a senior at Carpinteria High School. "Girls Inc. has helped me understand the importance of taking a leadership role and I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for everything Girls Inc. has instilled in me over the last 14 years. My experiences here have been life-changing."

Arianna plans to attend Santa Barbara City College in the fall and ultimately transfer to UCSB. In addition to graphic design, Arianna also plans to study photography and journalism.

"I want to be able to expose the significance that girls and women around the world possess and help break the mold of false image that society has placed on the minds of so many young girls," she said.

Since 1993, Girls Inc. has awarded over $4.6 million in scholarships, making higher education a reality for hundreds of high school girls across the United States and Canada. Scholarships are awarded annually and are open to Girls Inc. participants in the 11th and 12th grades.

Arianna's scholarship is awarded through The Pearl Fund, established in 2013 by fashion designer Georgina Chapman and JCPenney in partnership with Girls Inc.


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