Daniel Berlin, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was named the male 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.
“Receiving the USGA-AJGA President’s Leadership award is a great privilege,” Berlin said. “It makes me appreciate that my involvement with volunteerism is valued by those outside my own neighborhood.”
Berlin, 17, and female recipient Angelica Harris of Harvey, Louisiana, 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 Daniel Berlin
When Daniel Berlin was seven, his cousin Anna was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. From that moment, Berlin knew he wanted to do something to help those who suffer from mental illness.
“Through the game of golf, I discovered an avenue to help kids like Anna,” Berlin said. “In the summer of 2013, I volunteered to help at a golf outing for a local organization, the Suicide Prevention Education Alliance, now LifeAct.”
LifeAct is an organization dedicated to raising awareness for the warning signs of anxiety, depression and suicide. Berlin quickly became more involved in the organization and for the last three years has served on their youth advisory board, eventually serving as president. Through LifeAct Berlin helped guide many of his peers to raise awareness for helping those who are impacted by mental illness.
Berlin also became involved with the AJGA’s Leadership Links program, using the framework to organize his own fundraising campaign for LifeAct. Through this effort, he has raised more than $4,000 in the last two years.
In addition to his fundraising efforts, Berlin has volunteered more than 360 hours with LifeAct, 60 hours with the Cleveland Clinic ALS Research Program and 30 hours with his local Key Club. Balance has been important, as he has maintained a 4.6 GPA, scored a perfect 36 on the ACT and become a successful pianist, going so far as playing at Carnegie Hall.
“I was initially intimidated by juggling community outreach with academic, athletic and other extracurricular commitments,” Berlin said. “Now I appreciate the organization, networking and long-term planning that volunteerism has rewarded me in return.”
Berlin hopes to continue to impact those around him through fundraising as he enters his senior year of high school and beyond to college. He encourages others to find their motivation and passion and use it to help others.
“Through charitable involvement, I have connected with people of all ages who share a passion for giving,” Berlin said. “Knowing how much my cause means to me, I am more motivated to donate my hard-earned money and time to others who ask for support.”
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.)
2007 Joseph Suarez (Richmond, Va.)
Angela Villela (Sylmar, Calif.)
2006 Adam Michel (Orinda, Calif.)
Katrina Delen-Briones (San Francisco, 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.