American Girl Announces Winners of Real Girl of the Year Award

Three Grand Prize Winners Selected from more than 14,000 Inspiring Entries

Middleton, WI–June 4, 2007–American Girl is proud to announce the winners of its 2007 Real Girl of the Year Award. Three grand prize winners were selected from more than 14,000 entriesó11-year-old Bailey Reese from Florida; 11-year-old Madison Dodge from Delaware; and 12-year-old Ellen Wildman from Illinois. The Award was inspired by the 2007 Girl of the Year character, Nicki Fleming, who loves to help others in ways that are big and small. As grand prize winners, all three girls will receive a $5,000 donation to the organization they support, a $5,000 donation to their school, special appearance in the American Girl catalogue and Web site, and a complete Nicki product collection.

“The Real Girl of the Year Award is our way of celebrating the enormous contributions girls are making to better our world,” said Ellen L. Brothers, president of American Girl. “In reviewing the thousands of entries, we were continually amazed at the work these young girlsólike our winners Bailey, Madison, and Ellenó are doing to reach out and improve the lives of those around them. Each inspiring story exemplifies what it means to be a Real Girl of the Year.”

The 2007 Real Girl of the Year Award Winners are:

  • Bailey, age 11, started her own organization, Hero Hugs, to honor and thank military men and women for their support after her hometown was hit by a hurricane. With guidance from Bailey, Hero Hugs has shipped more than 21,000 care packages to U.S. soldiers serving overseas.
  • Passionate about a cure for diabetes, 11-year-old Madison spends time helping others understand the disease she lives with every day. In 2006, Madison spent more than 150 hours organizing events, serving as an ambassador for the American Diabetes Association, and sharing her story and time with others newly diagnosed with the disease.
  • Twelve-year-old Ellen started raising funds for a local homeless shelter, Lazarus House, after she helped its residents with a painting project. In the past three years, “Ellen’s Excellent Sale” has raised more than $9,000 for the shelter, which she also volunteers at year-round.

To read more about the grand prize winners and their inspiring stories and to meet the honorable mentions and finalists, visit

To further celebrate the winners and all girls who are doing great things in their communities, American Girl Place retail locations in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are hosting a special Spirit of Service Day on Friday, June 29. The event will champion girls’ volunteer efforts with meaningful activities throughout the day, including a special presentation from the Canine Companions for Independence organization and a volunteer fair for girls to discover additional ways they can make a difference. In addition, girls and their moms will be among the first to see new product offerings for Nicki, including a new book, Thanks to Nicki, which continues Nicki’s story of training a service dog for a person in need. For more information on the event, please visit


American Girl Brands, LLC., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT,, the world’s leading toy company. Since American Girl’s inception in 1986, the company has devoted its entire business to celebrating the potential of girls ages 3 to 12. American Girl encourages girls to dream, to grow, to aspire, to create, and to imagine through a wide range of engaging and insightful books, age-appropriate and educational products, and unforgettable experiences. In meeting its mission with a vigilant eye toward quality and service, American Girl has earned the loyal following of millions of girls and the praise and trust of parents and educators. To learn more about American Girl or to request a free catalogue, call 1-800-845-0005 or visit