From left: Allison Yamashita, Christine Wakasa, Iris Hirata, Lindsey Kojima, Jacklyn Oldoerp.

Troop 5325, which meets at the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, had five girls earn the Gold Award – the highest award in Girl Scouting.

To earn the award, Iris Hirata, Lindsey Kojima, Jacklyn Oldoerp, Christine Wakasa and Allison Yamashita each completed a project of at least 80 hours that addressed an issue and created a lasting change in a community of her choice.

The girls were presented their Gold Award pins at the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles pinning ceremony at the Skirball Center on June 8. Here is a summary of their projects:

Iris Hirata – STEMM at Beethoven Elementary

In conjunction with the STAR after-school program, Iris held science workshops to inspire and enrich the lives of kids at Beethoven Elementary. Her workshops focused on a different concept each week and included activities that have been cut from many public school curriculums. The kids looked forward to her workshops and were lined up waiting to get in each week.

Lindsey Kojima – Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument (VJAMM)

Lindsey created a video and book to educate children on the VJAMM. Her materials share the stories of the former internees who have quotes on the monument. She presented her project at various schools and camps, where she had kids create their own miniature monuments. She also created a patch program that allows kids who visit the monument and complete a questionnaire to earn a patch.

Jacklyn Oldoerp – Volleyball at the Venice Japanese Community Center (VJCC)

Jacklyn held volleyball clinics at the VJCC to introduce kids at the center to a new sport. The center had volleyball equipment that was not being used. She fundraised enough money to give each participant a volleyball so they could continue practicing at home. With the help of Venice High School volleyball players, her clinics were a hit and will continue to help kids become more physically fit.

Christine Wakasa – Exploring Engineering at Mar Vista Elementary

Christine held a series of workshops at Mar Vista Elementary to expose young girls to engineering concepts and careers. Her project addressed the lack of women engineers in today’s workforce. Christine highlighted a different type of engineering each week with hands-on activities. Women engineers from Raytheon came out to inspire the girls and give out swag bags.

Allison Yamashita – “The Atomettes”

Allison wrote and illustrated a children’s book about a Japanese-American girls group that was formed at the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church after the girls came out of WWII internment camps. The story touches on the racism they faced and how their friendship has endured over 70 years. She presented the book at various camps and schools to educate kids in an engaging way. Her project recently won first place in the Manzanar Pilgrimage Committee Student Awards Program.

For more information about their projects, email To join or volunteer for Girl Scouts, visit

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