The newly graduated Culver City High School student Nicole Parker was recently honored for her achievements during the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Gold Award ceremony on June 13, 2021. Nicole and two other awardees each completed a project of at least 80 hours that created a lasting change in their community.
Nicole, a member of Troop 5325, which meets at the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, used a trip to Fukushima as inspiration for her Gold Award project. As a high school delegate to Japan, Nicole saw first-hand the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster. There she learned that the students in Fukushima had one wish: to spread the message that Fukushima and its residents aren’t contaminated because of the radiation fallout. In response, Nicole created a workshop to educate students at Culver City Middle School about the Fukushima disaster and about the resulting discrimination residents face.
“Using Zoom, we had thoughtful group discussions about discrimination and ways to combat it,” Nicole said. “By creating a virtual treasure hunt, I took the students to tourist destinations to show that Fukushima is still a beautiful place. Collaborating with my Soma High School friends (from Fukushima) has been an ongoing motivation throughout the project. I translated narrative video clips they sent about their personal experiences of the disaster and showed them during my workshops.”
Nicole and her community partner, the Japan America Society of Southern California, hoped to promote the resilience of Japan and teach children to become active global citizens.