The Awesome Awards - Nominations

Mandi Simon

Nominated by Amy Grove
October 14, 2014
Let me introduce you to Mandi Simon.

Mandi is an 11 year old girl from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I had the life-changing, great fortune to meet Mandi four years ago, when I worked with her mom.

Mandi is AWESOME for many reason. The first being that at age 7, shortly after a tornado tore through part of the Twin Cities, Mandi's heart was broken. She thought about all of the kids affected by the violence of the tornado - the birthday candles that wouldn't be lit and the backpacks that wouldn't be on kids' shoulders.

Shortly after that, Mandi sat her Mom down one evening and said "Mom, I want to start a business" - a business where Kids Celebrate Kids. I want to be sure that no kids go without a birthday party. Mandi's Mom was so amazed by how much thought Mandi had put into this and realized, "Wow, there is a real idea and passion here". So after a little thought and a lot of hard work, Simon Says Give, a 501(c) 3 was born.

In honor of Mandi's birthday in August, the High Five for Supplies program was born. Backpacks and school supplies are collected throughout the Twin Cities area in July of each year, and delivered in August to kids in need.

In the few short years since Mandi's dream began, she has brought together so many amazing people - of all ages - who believe in her and believe in her dream. SSG has hosted over 300 birthday parties, delivered over 100 Birthdays in a Box to transitional housing locations, and this past August, affected 10,000 kids' lives with backpacks and school supplies.

Mandi finds every way possible to invite kids into the activities. The SSG logo was designed by one of her friends. Kids get together to design and create the gift bags for parties. Volunteers as young as age 3 have helped collect and pack backpacks. Kids created most of the signage for the last backpack event. Kids attend the birthday parties to create the ultimate fun. They are absolutely drawn to her!!!!

Even before Simon Says Give was an idea, Mandi regularly asked for donations for her birthday. She has a heart so big and her dream is contagious. As the Chief Charity Officer, Mandi leads Board Meetings (with some pretty amazing people), ideation sessions, committee meetings, and gives her time to attend and participate in as many birthday parties as possible. Consistently, she is able to take the idea of an adult and make it 100 times better because she doesn't know limits or that things aren't possible. She speaks at small and large venues where executives and local media are often in the audience, and shares her dream so effectively and effortlessly. I believe that her dream is so large that it drowns out any fear! Mandi also takes time to be a "kid". She is a volleyball star, and loves school, her friends, her parents, her dog, Posh and her fish, Michael.

As an adult, I am so taken with her spirit. Her unconditional love for each child - known or not - is humbling. She has completely convinced me (and more than 100+ other kids and adults) to put my love and energy into her dream. Her smile and warmth, maturity and goofiness, and intelligence and giving heart, make her one completely AWESOME person!

My life has been dramatically changed for the better by having Mandi in it. She has awakened that giving spirit within me and I'm learning to ignore the traditional limits in my thinking. If I had a child, I would want her to be just like Mandi!

To learn even more about Mandi, check her out at You will see first hand how truly AWESOME this amazing young lady is!!!!!

Thank you for letting me share!!!!

"Aunt Amy"