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Girl Scouts of North East Ohio Hosts Dessert First Gala, Surpassing Fundraising Goal


Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) is celebrating sweet success after its 21st Dessert First Gala raised more than $108,000, while challenging seven local chefs to create desserts featuring Girl Scout Cookies.

The event included dessert tasting, silent and live auctions, and dinner. This year, desserts were judged by guests, and the winners this year are:

People’s Choice:

1st Place – Cuyahoga Community College Hospitality Management Center of Excellence (Cleveland), Maureen Leonard

2nd Place - Zari’s Cakez (Strongsville), Zarina Melik-Stepanova

3rd Place - Black Sheep Baking Co. (Bedford Heights), Lauren Shaffer


People’s Choice for Best Presentation:

1st - The Stone Oven Bakery (Cleveland Heights), Emma Scheer

2nd - Zari’s Cakez (Strongsville), Zarina Melik-Stepanova

3rd - Little EmporiYum Bakery (Brunswick), Jessica Gallagher


Guests bid on 57 silent auction items and experiences while the live auction offered four, priceless experiences including a ride on the Goodyear Blimp and an exclusive stay at a private home in Mexico.

Donations raised through the fund-a-need will go toward the purchase of two Freedom Climbers – one for Camp Ledgewood, one for Camp Timberlane – which will provide more challenging outdoor opportunities for girls. With Freedom Climbers, girls are able to practice their climbing skills year-round. GSNEO has already seen great success with girls and the Freedom Climber at Camp Sugarbush and is excited to be able to offer the same opportunity at every camp in the council’s footprint!

Dessert First, GSNEO’s signature fundraiser, supports leadership development and character-building programs for more than 25,000 girls throughout 18 counties in Northeast Ohio.

To learn more about Girl Scouts and how you can make an impact, contact Laura De’Armond Szucs at


Thank you to our 2021 Dessert First Sponsors!

Gold Sponsors: FirstEnergy Foundation | Nordson Corporation

Thin Mint Sponsor: Little Brownie Bakers

Silver Sponsor: First National Bank

Tagalong Sponsors: The Davey Tree Expert Company | KeyBank | Metis Construction | The Sherwin-Williams Company

Do-si-dos Sponsors: John & Penny Graves | Judith E. Matsko Regency Construction Services, Inc. | Roetzel & Andress

Table Hosts: Akron Children's Hospital | Kate & Ric Asbeck | Brandstetter Carroll, DMC | Amie & Phil Cajka | Marian Calvin | Jane Christyson | Cuyahoga Community College | Huntington National Bank | Andy & Kathy Moock | Mutual of America | Pamela Valentine | Jess & Joan Villarreal

Patrons: Nicole Rodenfels | Roberta & Michael Uhrich | Chris & Larissa Venditti