Lauryn Nguyen of Seattle, Wash., and William Mirams of Stroudsburg, Pa., were named the recipients of the 2019 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award, the USGA and American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) announced June 6.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award honors one male and one female junior golfer annually 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.
“It’s really humbling for me to receive this award,” Nguyen said. “When I started Leadership Links, I had no idea the impact that I would make.”
“I hope to inspire others and show them that helping people in your community is paramount, especially when you are fortunate enough to have the time and ability to do so,” Mirams said. “I want them to know there are so many people in the world who need help, and in doing your part the world becomes a better place for the people around you.”
Nguyen is a first-generation American citizen. Her parents immigrated to the United States in the 1980s to escape war-torn Vietnam. She knows she is fortunate to receive the opportunities she has and is focused on giving the same opportunities to kids. She is particularly interested in helping other girls experience the game of golf and the opportunities it can afford.
“Growing up, I realized golf opens so many doors for me in terms of traveling experiences, meeting new friends, potential future scholarships, and future business opportunities,” Nguyen said. “Having experienced this, I want other juniors to have the same opportunity and expand their potential.”
Using Leadership Links as a resource, she has focused her fundraising efforts on The First Tee of Greater Seattle. Through her projects, she has raised more than $15,000 for the charity. In 2018 alone, she raised enough money to help more than 40 kids have the opportunity to play golf with the chapter where she started with golf as well. Money she raises also benefits the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) program which helps junior golfers who have the talent to play national-level junior golf, but not the financial means.
“I’ve learned that when you put others first, good things always come back,” Nguyen said. “When I first started volunteering with The First Tee, I just thought that I would be giving some kids some tips on their swing and teach them aspects of the game, I had no idea that along with the impact that I had on them, they had an equally powerful impact on me.”
Getting more girls involved in the game of golf is very important to Nguyen. At her high school, she realized there were not many girls coming out for the golf team and those who did, only played golf during the season. She started a girls’ golf club to spread the word about golf and to encourage girls at her high school to play golf year-round.
Mirams’ connection with golf began with his late grandmother. She taught him everything he knows about the game and inspired him to pursue it every day. When she passed away from breast cancer, he decided to start a charity in her honor. He called it the Doreen Mirams Charity in her honor.
“I created this charity to relieve patients of financial burdens that they may have outside of the hospital,” Mirams said. “This is so that when the patient stops treatment it is easier for them to get back on their feet and continue with their life.”
Mirams used the memories he has playing golf and spending time with his grandmother to create a children’s book titled “Golf, Grandma and Me.” Using the book as a launch point, he began raising money for those affected by breast cancer.
Through sale from the book and a golf tournament Mirams works tirelessly to put together each year, he has raised more than $100,000 in four years.
“I am most proud of the golf tournament I host,” Mirams said. This event takes a lot of time, effort, and community support. This is our sixth year and each year the event has grown and helped me provide even more support to cancer patients.”
Through Leadership Links, he also raises money for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and volunteers with the Lehigh Valley Hospital.
“I want to raise money to help people going through tremendously difficult times both spiritually and financially,” Mirams said. “My family has gone through the awful times of having a family member suffer from cancer. I know how important support and help is when it matters most.”
USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award – Past Recipients
Gerry Jones Jr. (Suffolk, Va.)
Grace Chen (Sunnyvale, Calif.)
Grant Fairbairn (Orinda, Fla.)
Haley Bookholdt (Columbus, N.J.)
Daniel Berlin (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
Angelica Harris (Harvey, La.)
Nick Leibold (Littleton, Colo.)
Hannah Berman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
John Hayden (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dree Fausnaugh (Maitland, Fla.)
Patrick Cover (Huntersville, N.C.)
Divya Manthena (Camarillo, Calif.)
Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)