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Girl Scouts Gold Award project
International Stress- Relief Workshops for teens

 Anuhya Kasam, a junior at Northview High School, traveled internationally and met people from all over the world for her Girl Scouts Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest achievement within Girl Scouts and is the most prestigious award in the world for girls. This award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership with sustainable projects and is earned by only 5% of Girl Scouts.

More than 300 million people suffer from stress- caused depression, according to the World Health Organization. After gauging the stress levels of her high school peers through a school wide survey, Anuhya found that 90% of her classmates are stressed everyday. Seeing these statistics, Anuhya decided to take initiative to solve the growing issue of stress; thus, project “DeStress 101” began.

After researching teenage stress, Anuhya found that students are generally stressed because of over scheduling, a demand for exceptional academic scores, parental pressures, and uncertainty for the future. Students struggle with getting assignments finished on time, staying organized, handling environmental pressures, and knowing about their higher education and job options. Anuhya also found that there are several hormones that are essential in reducing stress. Endorphins that are released during laughing reduce the negative effects of cortisone during stress. Serotonin makes people sociable and happy, and dopamine keeps people alert and focused to achieve their goals. All of these hormones can be balanced through breathing techniques and yoga postures, which were taught to the students in the series of workshops. In addition, meditation helps people relax and focus. After creating a workshop plan, Anuhya finalized which yoga postures and breathing techniques to teach with two experts (certified Art of Living and Patanjali instructors).

Anuhya also created several stress kits by raising $500 dollars worth of materials. These stress kits include motivational films, books, stress balls, and stress- reducing games and items. These kits were sent to each of the previous workshop locations, so that the students can use the items in the kit during their frequent meetups.

Over the course of one and a half years, Anuhya held six international stress- relief workshops for over 200 high school students, college students, and adults. These workshops were held in three countries: India, England, and America. In each of these countries, Anuhya trained volunteers on how to conduct stress relief workshops, so that they would continue holding workshops even after she had left. She also conducted each workshop in the country’s language to make it more convenient and friendly for the locals. In these workshops, Anuhya and her team members taught stress management tips, quick stress busters, time management and organizational skills, and breathing techniques. The workshop ended with a quick meditation, calming the students’ minds and relaxing them. “Stress is an issue we must tackle as a global community. The effort to diminish stress should begin as early as possible. We should teach kids techniques to manage stress early on, so that they’re able to handle themselves when larger obstacles arise,” Anuhya says.

The six workshop locations were the Andhra Lutheran College in Guntur, KBN College in Vijayawada, Northview High School in Johns Creek, and local community centers in London and Johns Creek. She was also selected to present this workshop at the Girl Scouts Volunteer Leadership Conference for adult volunteers.
“My most touching experience was at the end of the KBN college workshop in India... before I left, a college student ran up to me and told me how much I motivated and inspired her through the workshop,” Anuhya says. “It was heartwarming to see an immediate impact of the project, and her statement made me more confident for the rest of my workshops.”
To ensure that the wonders of these workshops are accessible to more girls, boys, and their families, the DeStress 101 team members are continuing to spread these workshops through clubs and programs to other schools and colleges in several countries. Anuhya is also getting several invitations to present at national and global conventions. Through the ongoing inclusion of new volunteers, these workshops are reaching thousands of students.

​ “Through my project, I had the opportunity to transform so many people’s lives. Being stress- free is so important in this modern day society, so I hope my project continues to inspire people to take control of their lives and minds,” Anuhya states. “I’d also like to thank everyone who made this project possible: my Girl Scouts advisor, Mrs. Foerst; my Girl Scouts troop leader, Mrs. Ware; my project advisor, Mr. Velugubhantla; the principals and teachers at the workshop locations; my team members in India, England, and America (Aparna, Praneetha, Bhargav, Sai, Kavya, Christina, and many more); and my family for supporting me every step of the way.
For more details, visit: www.destress101.weebly.com


' Aug-01-2018