Wheaton teen Julia Hildebrand is one of 12 Illinois candidates in the "Choose to Matter" contest who could win a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games to join McDonald's as Youth Ambassadors for McDonald's Champions of Play program.
Julie Foudy, former USA Women's Soccer Team captain, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time World Cup Champion, launched the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy (JFSLA) for girls ages 12-18 in 2006.
According to a press release on the JFSLA website, "JFSLA and the new Choose to Matter initiative empower young female athletes to confidently choose to make a difference in the lives and communities around them. The innovative contest celebrates young women who are passionate leaders and change makers in their communities."
Voting for the first JFSLA Choose to Matter Contest opened Feb. 1 and will end Feb. 21.
Last summer, Julia attended the JFSLA five-night, six-day residential academy focuses on sports and leadership. While there is an abundance of soccer training, the main focus is developing leadership qualities that the girls can use both on and off the field. Each camper is encouraged to create their own service project. The planning process begins at camp with the girls getting valuable advice from the staff. Upon returning home, the challenge of implementing their plan begins.
This year, 12 Illinois girls completed their projects and submitted their results back to the Foudy camp. These 12 have all been entered into the competition sponsored by the McDonald's Corporation.
Julia, a 7th grader, has created several activities to raise more than her goal of $650 for the American Cancer Society and to increase cancer awareness. She is having a week-long cancer wristband sale at her school and has coordinated a "Stomp out Cancer" dance party. She has recruited her student council, her local park district, a local high school, and several area businesses to help with her cause.
What she needs now are votes.
You can help Julia get to London where she will have the opportunity to represent her school, her community, and her cause by voting for her before February 21: