Arianna Lopez, a senior at Carpinteria High School and long-time Girls Inc. of Carpinteria participant, is Girls Inc. of Carpinteria's 19th National Scholar.
Through the Girls Inc. National Scholar Program, a $20,000 scholarship is awarded to Lopez to assist in furthering her education and attaining a college degree. Lopez's scholarship is awarded through The Pearl Fund, established in 2013 by fashion designer Georgina Chapman and JCPenney in partnership with Girls Inc.
“We are beyond thrilled to see Arianna receive this prestigious, well-deserved award and be named a Girls Inc. National Scholar,” says 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.”
Lopez has been with Girls Inc. of Carpinteria for 14 years and participates in nearly every program the organization offers, which include building resilience, developing a support network, and acquiring the skills she needs to become an advocate for the Carpinteria community.
Lopez has over 2,600 community service hours and contributed six years to 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, which helped reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and decreased tobacco-related litter in the community. As a result of her hard work, Radio Disney recognized her community service with a “Hero for Change” award.
“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,” says Asa Olsson, former cultural arts director 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.”
Through Girls Inc. programs and events, Lopez says she met inspiring girls and encouraging women that have taught her to strive for excellence. Lopez says, “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.”
She also credits an experience meeting creators at DreamWorks through Girls Inc. for sparking her interest in graphic design. In order to fulfill her goals in graphic design, Lopez plans to attend Santa Barbara City College in the fall and ultimately transfer to University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition to graphic design, Lopez 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,” says Lopez.
This program continues to nurture the next generation of young female leaders. Girls Inc. National Scholars are outstanding young women who exemplify the Girls Inc. mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. The scholars act as role models by demonstrating a commitment to achieving academic success and serving their communities. This year, Girls Inc. has awarded 31 high school girls’ scholarships for educational expenses at any accredited college or university, from a record-high pool of applicants.
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 11 and 12 grades. Girls Inc. continues to inspire girls through research-based programs and public education efforts that empower girls to understand, value, and assert their rights.