The 17-year-old was recognized along with eight women leaders at the organization’s 28th annual Women of Distinction virtual event this month.
Anastasiou, an Ambassador Girl Scout and a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, has been a member of the Girl Scouts for 13 years as part of Troop 4375.
“Despina has demonstrated a strong commitment to community service,” said Meridith Maskara, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater New York, “repeatedly using her leadership skills to take action and make a positive impact in the world.”
Currently a senior at Dominican Academy High School, Anastasiou started in the Girl Scouts 13 years ago in kindergarten. She planted trees in parks, sang in nursing homes and memorized the Girl Scout Pledge.
For her Gold Award project, Anastasiou joined the organization Dancing Dreams to teach dance to children with physical and mental disabilities weekly at a local dance studio. She also collected 138 costumes to donate to an organization called Traveling Tutus, which helped her send the costumes to countries throughout Africa.
Anastasiou also started her own nonprofit organization called Epistles for the Elderly, which encourages teens to write their personal stories and send them to nursing homes throughout the country.
She plans to study international relations on a pre-law track in college next year, and aspires to later attend law school to become an international criminal defendant.
“Girl Scouting has been enormously influential on my character and on how I perceive myself and the world around me,” Anastasiou 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.”