By Catherine Myman-Kaplan ’00
Before my time at Scripps College, I was never the type to actively seek out a leadership role due to a combination of insecurity and timidity. Scripps empowered me to find my voice and take risks. With the encouragement of supportive classmates and faculty, I became a peer mentor, a student-living representative who planned bonding activities for my dorm mates, an Admissions tour guide, and even a writer for the Scripps Voice. My personal growth at the College is what keeps me volunteering to this day—serving on the Alumnae Leadership Council and as a Reunion Weekend ambassador, a GOLD volunteer, and class scribe, among other volunteer roles—as well as donating to the school so that other women can have the same experience.
Women supporting other women has become the guiding motto of my volunteer work, especially in my efforts with the Girl Scouts troop I’m proud to lead. Watching those 15 girls mature from little first-graders learning about what it means to give back to resilient seventh graders designing their own service projects to earn the Silver Award—the highest Girl Scout award for their age—is one of my great joys. Their service projects include collecting feminine hygiene products for teenagers living in shelters, creating a website to show people how to compost at home, and filling backpacks with treats and toys for newly adopted pets. Helping them to realize the impact they can have through small acts of kindness has resulted in over 800 community-service hours performed by the troop in a single school year. They were even given the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award in acknowledgment of their efforts. And I’ve been recognized with the Leader With a Heart award for outstanding troop leadership by the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, the Appreciation Award from the Girl Scouts National Council for exceeding troop leadership expectations, and, most recently, the Virtual Vanguard Award for my efforts to keep my troop virtually connected to each other, the Girl Scouts organization, and the community during the pandemic.
Making an impact through volunteering and acts of kindness does not require great big acts, and I hope that the members of my Girl Scout troop always have the confidence to use their individual voices to make an impact.
I’m constantly seeking out volunteer opportunities and leadership programs for the girls in my troop so that they can understand the power and potential in giving time and energy to causes that are important to them. Leading by example, I volunteer for my daughters’ schools, doing everything from being Room Parent to serving on the board of the financial aid trust. Volunteering to spearhead food, toy, and blanket drives lets me make an impact in my local community. Volunteering for Scripps lets me give back to an institution that not only helped me find my voice but also provided me with a family of wonderful friends, many of whom I still talk to almost daily.
Making an impact through volunteering and acts of kindness does not require great big acts, and I hope that the members of my Girl Scout troop always have the confidence to use their individual voices to make an impact on the causes and institutions that inspire them, no matter how big or small.
Finding my own voice at Scripps and using it to help others in my community and beyond is one of the gifts that Scripps College gave me. I hope that other Scripps women, both current students and alumnae, find their voices and create their own impactful moments.