June 18, 2012 | 10:10 a.m.
By Alennah Westlund '14
Maggie Harris. (Photo credit: Julie Kraai)
Maggie Harris ’10, who graduated from Bethel University Graduate School’s organizational leadership master’s program, was recently awarded the Girl Scouts Centennial Award from the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. “Honorees are women who exemplify the qualities of courage, confidence and character that we strive to develop in girls,” according to the organization’s website.
Harris received the award in the Women of Promise category for women age 35 or younger who have made a difference in their professions or communities. Harris was recognized for her community work as president and co-founder of Ever After Gowns, a volunteer-run foundation that donates prom gowns and accessories to high school students in need in the Twin Cities area.
Harris, who has been a consistent supporter of Girl Scouts, spoke of her connection to the group: “I began my journey as a Girl Scout in first grade when I lived with my family in Hong Kong,” said Harris. “It was a way for me to connect with American culture, while collaborating and learning in a values-based and diverse group of friends. It really set the stage for how I try to approach life as a woman, wife, mother, teacher, and community organizer.”
In 2004, Harris co-founded the non-profit Ever After Gowns, which relies on public donations and volunteers to put on its annual Ever After Gowns Boutique Event, which allows select students to pick one gown and some accessories to wear, for free, to their high school prom. Ever After Gowns works with guidance counselors in more than 30 Twin Cities-area high schools to select women based on need and merit to have the opportunity to visit the boutique and select a dress.
Honorees for the Centennial Awards were nominated by friends, family, coworkers, and community members and a volunteer committee makes the final selections. Harris was honored at the once-in-a-century Centennial Awards Gala in April at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The funds raised from the event will go directly to a new Girl Scout initiative to increase access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience for girls from low-income and ethnic minority communities.