Not only is Lauren Best smart (her cumulative GPA is 4.57), but she has a great heart for helping others. Best, 18, a recent graduate of Sonora High School in La Habra and current USC student studying social psychology, created a curriculum through her Girl Scout Gold Award Project working with special needs teachers to teach social skills to special needs students. She also trained 100 regular education students as mentors for the students and planned a dance, which included 200 mentors and special needs students from Sonora and a neighboring high school. Best also founded one of the only Girl Scout Troops for students with special needs in Southern California. As president of Sonora’s Best Bets Club for two years, she encouraged students to work with special needs kids, and her Girl Scout Silver Award Project developed a workshop for 40 younger scouts to bring awareness to the problem of global human trafficking. For her work, she was honored by KABC-TV as a Cool Kid and won a Be Inspired Grant from Disney/Youth Service America.

“I have been given so much. I feel it is my responsibility to give back to others. I may be young, but with courage, confidence and character, I can make a difference in my community.” – Lauren Best