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Community Partner: Distinguished Young Women of Georgia

Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship program that seeks to enrich the lives of participants across the nation by encouraging leadership, volunteerism, and education. Each year, thousands of young women are provided with the opportunity to partake in local, state, and national showcases that demonstrate their talents and, in turn, provide them with the opportunity to earn some of the $1 billion in scholarship funds made available through the program.

Georgia has at-large programs throughout the state, allowing any young woman the chance to qualify for state finals. Ladies from Atlanta and its surrounding areas are encouraged to sign up for the Greater Atlanta At-Large for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn new skills, meet lifelong friends, and get help paying for college. It is always completely free to participate.

Participants are evaluated in scholastics, interview, talent, fitness, and self-expression, and they must be a junior in high school to sign up. Each year, the state showcase finals are held in Marietta, Georgia, where one representative is selected to represent Georgia in the national finals held in Mobile, Alabama. During the national finals, the Distinguished Young Woman of America is named.

Distinguished Young Women, formerly Junior Miss and often lovingly referred to as “DYW,” has been a part of the formative years of many notable women, including Diane Sawyer, Deborah Norville, and Debra Messing. Equally as impressive are the countless participants who found a home with DYW and went on to excel as doctors, business executives, teachers, and philanthropists.

Shelby Burnette, class of 2016, is a current business graduate student at Vanderbilt University, has been a lifelong program volunteer, and participated in the Georgia program.

“I grew up with the participants of the program as role models. I was constantly in awe of their confidence and talent,” Burnette said. “When my junior year of high school approached and I got ready to participate in the Georgia program, I wasn’t sure if I lived up to the incredible women that came before me. As I participated, I quickly realized that DYW is not just a way to celebrate women who are already accomplished, but a way to empower women to fulfill their potential. I pushed through fears of performing on stage and the interview process, and I was able to transform into a person that I felt was as accomplished as the women that came before me. The lessons I learned and the confidence I gained in the process were something that I took with me into college interviews, and it truly changed my viewpoint of myself and my abilities. I am so thankful to this program, and I am grateful for the person it has shaped me into today.”

Burnette continues to volunteer with various state programs and even interned in the national office. Her testimonial is representative of countless young women who have seen themselves flourish through the DYW of Georgia program.

Distinguished Young Women of Georgia is always looking for participants and volunteers. For more information on how to get involved, please call, visit the website, or email DYW of Georgia’s state chairman, Kim Storey, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Distinguished Young Women of Georgia

412 Bennett Farms Place
Acworth, GA 30102

204 Peachtree Boulevard
Bonaire, GA 31005