Nov. 12, 2020 By Allie Griffin
An Astoria teen was honored by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York (GSGNY) for her leadership and community service work.
Despina Anastasiou was named the “2020 Future Woman of Distinction” and recognized alongside eight other young women at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York’s 28th annual Women of Distinction week-long virtual event this month.
“Girl Scouts of Greater New York is proud to name Despina Anastasiou our 2020 Future Woman of Distinction, honoring her as a role model for younger Girl Scouts and all New Yorkers,” said Meridith Maskara, a Sunnyside resident and CEO of GSGNY. “Despina has demonstrated a strong commitment to community service, repeatedly using her leadership skills to take action and make a positive impact in the world.”
The 17-year-old senior at Dominican Academy High School, a Catholic school in Manhattan, has been a member of the Girl Scouts for 13 years and won the award for her community service in the dance field.
Anastasiou started an initiative called “We Can All Dance” for the Girl Scouts Gold Award Project that brings the joy of dancing to all children regardless of their ability. The teen teaches dance to children with physical and mental disabilities each week through an organization called Dancing Dreams.
She also began collecting dance costumes to send to girls in developing countries as part of the project. She collected nearly 140 costumes and donated them to an organization called Traveling Tutus which sent the costumes to girls in countries throughout Africa.
Anastasiou credits the Girl Scouts for inspiring her to help others.
“Girl Scouting has been enormously influential on my character, and on how I perceive myself and the world around me,” she said. “Over the years, Girl Scouts instilled a confidence within me that enabled me to go out and achieve my goals, and always gave me role models to show me what is possible, especially in male-dominated fields. ”
The Astoria teen plans to pursue a major in international relations on a pre-law track at college next year.