Angelica Harris of Harvey, Louisiana, was named the female recipient of the 2016 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Tuesday.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award was created to recognize one male and one female 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.
“I am so honored to be named a recipient of the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award,” Harris said. “Working with individuals with autism at Chartwell Center for the past year has been rewarding. I love doing this service and learning more about the developmental disorder, autism.”
Harris, 18, and male recipient Daniel Berlin of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, will be honored on June 28 in Greensboro, Georgia, during the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Additionally, they will each receive tickets to a future U.S. Open and an automatic entry into the 2016 Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf events.
About Angelica Harris
Angelica Harris saw a need to brighten the lives of others through the game of golf. She started Angelica’s Angels and partnered with the Chartwell Center, a school for people with autism, to create a program which teaches the students golf, healthy eating habits and valuable life lessons about sportsmanship and confidence.
“It makes me feel really good when I help change a person’s life. I don’t mind putting long hours into volunteering because I can see the impact that it makes,” Harris said. “My work helping children with autism learn to play golf ended up leading to significant improvements in their motor skills and is very rewarding.”
Through her fundraising efforts, Harris has raised more than $1,400 for her golf program. She has also expanded the program to a local child care center for low income families and hopes to expand to other special needs schools in the future.
In addition to working with Angelica’s Angels, she is also involved with many other organizations, including, Second Harvest Food Bank, The First Tee of Greater New Orleans, the Breast Cancer Center, ALS Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House Charity. Over the last several years, she has volunteered more than 880 hours.
“Since I volunteer at a school for individuals with autism, I have learned a lot about the mental disorder, and through service, I have learned leadership and teamwork skills in order to help people achieve their goals,” Harris said.
Harris will play college golf at Washington University in St. Louis in the fall, but her vision for the programs she is involved with is for them to continue to grow while she is in college. She believes others should get involved in charity work because of how it has impacted her life.
“My advice to anyone looking to get involved with a charity is to find a cause that you are passionate about and look for ways you can directly make a difference,” Harris said. “It takes a lot of commitment, but I think, at the end of the day, it is all worth it.”
USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award – Past Recipients
2015 Nick Leibold (Littleton, Colo.)
Hannah Berman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
2014 John Hayden (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dree Fausnaugh (Maitland, Fla.)
2013 Patrick Cover (Huntersville, N.C.)
Divya Manthena (Camarillo, Calif.)
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.)
About Leadership Links
Since 2009, the Leadership Links program has helped more than 1,000 junior golfers make a difference in their communities by generating more than $1 million in charitable contributions to hundreds of charities and the AJGA's Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant.
Leadership Links is a program that allows the AJGA to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable-giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the ACE Grant. For more information about Leadership Links, visit www.ajga.org/LL/Index.asp#Programs.
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, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. 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 reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants 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 usga.org.
About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-18) of nearly 6,500 members from 49 states and more than 50 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.