Brooklyn Wright

Atlanta, Georgia

Brooklyn Wright of Atlanta, Georgia has been awarded the 2014 Legend Leadership Award for her creativity and enthusiasm in teaching young children the importance of “Litter Prevention and Going Green”.   

Madeline has never had a lack of motivation to volunteer. This high school senior from Rochester, MN is head-over-heels passionate about community service.

At the young age of eight Brooklyn decided to write her storybook “The Adventures of Earth Saver Girl, Don’t be a Litterbug” to educate kids about the Earth in a fun way. She soon took on her book main character’s identity and became “Earth Saver Girl” dressed as a super hero she educates kids about the environment while encouraging them to do their part to protect the Earth.

Brooklyn is now twelve years old and continues her passion. Her non-profit Earth Saver Girl Inc. creates material for environmental clubs, help to start learning gardens and will host an overnight summer eco camp. She hopes that her storybook is turned into a cartoon, so that more kids around the world can be educated about the importance of saving the Earth.

Dressed in her Earth Girl Costume she has distributed these materials to children in hundreds of schools where she has visited and presented her interactive environmental program. Brooklyn’s book and Earth Day Curriculum is being used in schools around the world. Brooklyn says “The daily feedback I receive confirms that youth want to learn more and do more to take care of our Earth.”

Madeline Van Ert

Rochester, Minnesota

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation’s Legend Leadership Award is bestowed annually to up to seven winners who identify a problem affecting society today – and present a powerful and plausible solution to address this issue.   

Madeline has never had a lack of motivation to volunteer. This high school senior from Rochester, MN is head-over-heels passionate about community service.

Now, thanks to the program developed by Van Ert, students will be able to earn a Varsity Letter for their community service. Through partnering with the schools, and the United Way, she was able to create a plan where students can obtain a “Varsity Letter” in Community Service after completing all the requirements needed to earn this award status. Some of the requirements are: 145 hours of community service, 50 hours of non-school related volunteering, must have at least 1 school related activity and meet the “Students in Good Standings” qualifications required by the school. Many have taken the challenge and now proudly wear the varsity letter that they have earned.

Madeline seems to be deeply committed to youth in the community. She has a unique way of coming up with ideas that not only bring people together, but that also benefit everyone involved. Her passion and tenacity are a true inspiration and it appears to be a positive example that others will follow.

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation supports those who show good leadership skills along with creative ideas that will positively effect and benefit others in our world. We are proud to announce Madeline Van Ert as our 2013 Legend Leadership Award Winner.

Promising Pages Inc.

Concord, North Carolina

The 2012 Legend Leadership Award winner is Promising Pages: a revolutionary, one-of-a-kind early literacy and self-esteem boosting program based in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Promising Pages helps kids see books differently.

Promising Pages collects new and second-hand children’s books and wraps them as “presents.” Donated books are then distributed through their signature Magic Book Parties, hosted by their mascots "Erm the Book Worm," and "Erma the Book Worma." As the children receive these special presents and form the habit of daily reading, they are consistently reminded that books will help them grow up to become smart, successful, and anything they want to be when they grow up. The distribution events are so unique they were called a "literary first" by a major news outlet.  

Since it began in 2011, Promising Pages has processed over 100,000 books through book drives, private, and corporate donations.  Its goal is to collect and re-gift 1 million books so that every child in the greater Charlotte area can have a shelf full of brain-building, confidence boosting, be anything-they-want-to-be-in-the-world books. 

For its mission focused goal of “Changing the World, One Child, and One Book at a Time,” The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is pleased to present the 2012 Legend Leadership Award to Promising Pages.  In addition to a $7,000 grant, Promising Pages receives a Certificate of Appreciation and a trophy – to be proudly displayed for children to remember that we all can be champions. 

Learn more by visiting

Hidden Dangers Uncovered

Amber Adams Concord, North Carolina

Amber Adams focused on the problem of toxins in our everyday lives, which adversely affect our health. Her project, "Hidden Dangers Uncovered", helps raise awareness in both young and old of toxins in our everyday surroundings, and the health implications that go unrecognized.

With education and demonstrations, people can learn about such environmental toxins. It is Amber's passion that people will become empowered to make healthier choices and thereby avoid toxic overload and many illnesses associated with toxins.

Through Amber's initiative, a Girl Scout patch has been created called "Hidden Dangers Uncovered". This patch encourages young girls learn of the dangers of toxins in our environment; there is an ongoing project to teach people how to properly dispose of old batteries.

Congratulations, Amber, on leading us all in this environmental protection project!

For her creative ideas and leadership ability, the Dale Earnhardt Foundation granted Amber the 2011 Legend Leadership Award. She was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation, an engraved Trophy, and a college scholarship for $7,000.

Olivia's Birds - Saving The Gulf

Olivia Bouler Islip, New York

When Olivia Bouler’s grandparents in Alabama described how the oil spill would harm Gulf Coast wildlife, the fifth-grader began to cry. “I couldn’t stand it when I heard about the birds,” said Olivia, who spent her vacations in the Gulf Coast area.

Olivia wrote a letter to the National Audubon Society decorated with a drawing of a cardinal:  “I’m a decent drawer,” she wrote, “and I was wondering if I could sell some bird paintings and give the profits to your organization.”  Olivia’s artwork has inspired nature lovers to donate over $150,000 for Gulf cleanup efforts led by the National Audubon Society.

Today Olivia speaks on behalf of bird and wildlife advocacy and was named the ASPCA “Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year” in 2010.  She was also a “Featured Friend” of Disney’s Friends for Change – Project Green Initiative.

For her creative ideas and leadership ability, the Dale Earnhardt Foundation granted Olivia the 2010 Legend Leadership Award.

Read more about Olivia’s work at

Discover, Connect, Take Action

Girl Scouts of Palm Glades Council Jupiter, Florida

The Florida Everglades agricultural area is the heart of the state's sugarcane, rice and vegetable crops. In a period of 14 months during 2004 & 2005, the area was hit with 3 major hurricanes. In the Glades, farming is more than a source of income; it is a way of life. Successful crop harvests are due in large part to the barn owl, which is a natural predator of the local rodent population. Without the barn owl, rodents that would destroy these crops.

Unfortunately, the hurricanes destroyed almost 90 percent of the nesting habitat for the barn owl. Girl Scouts teaches DISCOVER, CONNECT, TAKE ACTION. The troops of the Palm Glades Council decided to undertake an all out effort to build new nesting boxes for the barn owls in order to protect their crops and the economy of the region. Scientists estimate that one pair of barn owls can reduce the rodent population by 1,500 per year. The council is constructing and placing enough barn owl nesting boxes in the area to eliminate an estimated 187,000 rodents per year! In the process, the Girl Scouts have gained community support for their efforts, donations of building supplies and volunteer help to transport the boxes to the needed areas. Because of their efforts, the use of pesticides has also been greatly reduced, thereby improving water and air quality for all.

"H2Owood Squares"

Jami Harper Grand Island, Nebraska

Since the age of 15, Jami Harper has been involved in environmental protection, actively recycling items and speaking to groups about protecting water. In 2004, industrial solvents were found in the wells of many of her neighbors. While she could do nothing on her own to fix this problem, she did realize she could do something to educate others about the problem and the need for safe water.

Jami started an educational program to teach safe water practices to other students. To make it both memorable and fun, she designed an interactive quiz called "H2Owood Squares," based on the TV game show Hollywood Squares, except all the questions are related to water facts and water protection. She even built her own set and took the show on the road to area schools and civic organizations. She was invited to lead a children's workshop for the Groundwater Foundation and has addressed the national Groundwater Guardian conference. Jami also wrote an illustrated childrens' book on environmental protection and launched "water wizard" - an educational website.

In 2007, she was honored by Family Circle Magazine as one of 4 young people in the country named "Earth Angels" for environmental community service projects.

My Own Book

Kyle & Brady Baldwin Green Valley, California

Kyle and Brady Baldwin are brothers from Green Valley, California who love to read, among other things. Being raised in a home surrounded with books, they were shocked to learn that some children never have a book of their own. Just over a year ago, they conceived a plan to collect and give away new or gently used books to underprivileged children in their community. Through the support of local businesses, book publishers, bookstores and individuals, their program began to take shape. Once enough books were collected for one classroom, they arranged a visit to an area school to give away the books.

Kyle and Brady's original goal was to give away 750 books by the end of the school year. By December, they had already collected and distributed 2,762 books. Their long term goal is to make "My Own Book" continue to grow and expand to more communities and to help people realize that the simple act of reading to a child can make their community a better place for all.

A Wish Come True

Nicole Donant Bolivar, Ohio

Nicole Donant is not your typical 14 year old girl. What started out as a Girl Scout community service project to conduct a book drive with a goal of collecting 1,000 books turned into something bigger - something much bigger - a brand new library for a neighboring community.

Nicole collected, cleaned, repaired and sorted over 6,000 books and the town of Mineral City, Ohio was grateful, but it had been over 30 years since the town had a library and it would cost $350,000 to build a new one. Undaunted, Nicole kept collecting books for her project knowing that someday they would have a home.

In 2005, the NBC-TV Show "Three Wishes" hosted by Amy Grant came to town and Nicole and her father Steve went to the first casting call so Nicole could tell them about her wish for a new library for Mineral City. Thanks to Nicole's perseverance and determination, her wish was granted. The ribbon was cut to open a new library which the grateful city named in her honor.

The new facility has over 10,000 books, eight computers with public internet access and a very special place called "Nicole's Corner" where she reads stories to children on a weekly basis. Nicole's selfless wish and efforts has given endless resources to enrich the lives of an entire community for many years to come.

What makes her story even more special is that Nicole has Cerebral Palsy, but rather than making a wish for herself, she put others first, which makes her truly deserving of this special award in the eyes of the judges.

Suitcases for Kids

Aubyn Burnside Hickory, North Carolina

In 1995, at the age of 10, Aubyn Burnside conceived and launched a local project to provide foster children with dignity and self respect through the simple gift of a suitcase for their belongings rather than being shuttled from foster home to foster home with their belongings sometimes carried in black trash bags. Her idea spread quickly with individuals and organizations helping out.

Today she still serves as CEO of Suitcases for Kids. The organization now has chapters in all 50 states and 83 foreign countries. The program also provides luggage to scholarship campers, adult daycare centers and victims of natural disasters.

Cribs for Kids Program

Maternity Care Coalition Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among healthy infants under the age of one year. While the rate of SIDS is dropping nationally, it is nearly twice the national average in the Philadelphia area. Since 2004, the Cribs for Kids program has supplied, free of charge, over 6,000 cribs to needy and at risk families in its service area. Additionally, the family receives education and training on proper sleep position and sleep environment for their infants along with referral services to their health and human services providers.

Operation Caring Through Sharing

Brenda George Ormond Beach, Florida

As one of 10 children, Brenda George has personally suffered from homelessness and hunger during her lifetime. From that experience, Operation Caring Through Sharing was formed. The program provides nutritional assistance to families in need on a continual basis of no less than one year in an effort to promote stability for the family.

School classes act as "sponsors" for needy families within their own community and commit to monthly collection and delivery of food boxes for an entire year. In less than 16 months of existence, over 51,000 pounds of food have been delivered to over 160 families and 350 children in the local community.

Animals for Alex

Welland Burnside Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Welland Burnside conceived this program following the loss of his young friend Alex, who died of cancer. He asked friends to honor Alex by placing a stuffed animal on his grave, on his birthday, every year. The animals were then donated to local law enforcement agencies to be given to children in traumatic situations such as automobile accidents, domestic violence, etc. Today the program has grown into organized stuffed animal collections in 37 states and 8 foreign countries. In addition to law enforcement agencies, the animals are distributed to hospitalized children and those who are victims of natural disasters.

The Child Connection

Louisville, Kentucky

Organized in 1992, The Child Connection was founded to assist in the recovery of missing and exploited children throughout the US and Canada. The organization uses certified dogs and handlers to locate evidence, DNA matter and missing children. In addition, the organization conducts a Stranger Safety Education Program for children 4-18 years of age through school assemblies and public appearances.

One Tree At A Time

Matthew Rich Concord, North Carolina

As a high school student, Matthew Rich was distressed at the number of trees being lost around his home county to urbanization and natural disasters. With a desire to plant 1,000 trees and $60, Matt started his own non-profit corporation - The Woodland and Wildlife Restoration Committee. Later with another $100 earned from a family garage sale, he purchased the first trees to be planted, and the "One Tree At A Time" project was born.

Classmates, scout troops and civic clubs pitched in and helped. International Paper Company heard about his project and joined with the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources in contributing more than 1,000 native Red Oak trees.

For his efforts and leadership, Matt has been recognized with numerous proclamations and was named one of the area's Guardians of the Environment by the Charlotte Observer. Likewise, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation takes equal pride in recognizing Matthew Rich for his leadership, creativity and stewardship of our environment as one of the first recipients of the Legend Leadership Award.

Countryside Charter School -
FFA Chapter

Benton Harbor, Michigan

This chapter began a program to improve students' knowledge of forestry management and land conservation through the reclamation and use of a wooded area and nature trails surrounding the school.

Intercultural Leadership Initiative

Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin

Innovative program to help alleviate racial tensions in an area where Native American children attend community schools along with children from other ethnic groups. The program helps build trust, respect and friendship among children at a young age, thereby hopefully reducing problems in the future.

Greenville Parks & Recreation

Greenville, North Carolina

Visitors and teachers are provided with online lesson plans and information to the science and nature center prior to their visit. New interactive and sensory materials for environmental education are now provided for use by blind and handicapped students.

Ann Marie Nowak

New York, New York

Ann Marie Nowak is an inner city school teacher who brings nature to her inner-city students by participating in a fish growing and release program using trout, the state fish of New York. Fish are raised by the students from eggs and then released into state watershed areas, thereby replenishing the waterways and ecosystem.

Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Non-profit organization created to coordinate the distribution of surplus venison from hunters to hungry families via an integrated network of meat processors and area food banks.

The Institute for Civic Leadership

New York, New York

Innovative leadership program offering experiences and training for NYC students to take civic action, engage in the democratic process and to improve knowledge of current events, world affairs and the effects of the media in their lives, in order to create informed leaders for tomorrow.



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