Cassie Wang of Lenexa, Kan., was named a recipient of the 2012 Presidents’ Leadership Award, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Thursday.
The Presidents’ Leadership Award was created to recognize one boy and one girl junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.
Wang and boys’ recipient Brandon Pierce of Covington, La., will be honored and formally presented the award during the Rolex Dinner of Champions, June 28, in Alpharetta, Ga., during the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Additionally, they will each receive four tickets to a U.S. Open in a year of his/her choice, access to the USGA hospitality tent during the U.S. Open, and an automatic entry into the 2012 Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf events.
Rather than simply feeling fortunate that her community had been spared from damaging tornadoes, Cassie Wang took action. Her fundraisers have helped families in Joplin, Mo., and spurred the founding of a nonprofit that reaches children in China, and it all started with a three-hour car ride.
Wang drove through Joplin on her way to an AJGA event in 2011 and witnessed the aftermath of the tornadoes that ravaged the town. From that point forward, she focused her humanitarian efforts on rebuilding the Joplin community, 141 miles from her hometown of Lenexa, Kan.
“After we drove through Joplin, and even while I was playing the tournament, I couldn’t stop thinking about how to help them,” Wang said.
Wang got involved with Leadership Links’ Birdies for Charity Program and raised nearly $1,000 for Joplin by the end of the summer of 2011.
Her involvement with Birdies for Charity was a catalyst for her continued volunteerism and service. Through her involvement in the Kansas City Chinese American Association, Wang created the Youth Hope Fund, which is comprised of students in the Kansas City area that fund raise to help feed, clothe, and educate children in need around the world.
“Volunteering has inspired me to motivate others,” Wang said.
And she has done just that. Since creating the Youth Hope Fund in October 2011, 20 young volunteers have joined the organization. Through bake sales, car washes, benefit luncheons, donations and raffles, the Youth Hope Fund has raised more than $6,000 and provided scholarships for 16 children in China.
Wang’s next venture incorporated both Joplin and the Youth Hope Fund. Volunteers from the Youth Hope Fund traveled to Joplin for a work day on May 26, 2012, and spent eight hours helping rebuild the area.
Her volunteer work and involvement with the community are not the only areas in which Wang shines. She is involved at Olathe Northwest High School, where she maintains a 4.4 grade point average, is the vice president of student council, serves on the Principal’s Advisory Board, and is a member a mentoring program for underclassmen.
Additionally, Wang finished fourth at the state of Kansas high school golf meet and notched five top-10 finishes in AJGA tournaments since 2010.
“It is a challenge to do it all. I don’t always get a full night’s sleep, but it is rewarding and worth it,” Wang said.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.
For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.
USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award – Past Recipients
2012 Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
2011 John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
2010 Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
2009 Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
2008 Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
2007 Joseph Suarez (Richmond, Va.)
Angela Villela (Sylmar, Calif.)
2006 Adam Michel (Orinda, Calif.)
Katrina Delen-Briones (San Francisco, Calif.)