October 2012 - Super Star Student of the Month
The Deltona City Commission, recognizes youth by nomination of teachers for a special award and ceremony held at City Hall.
Olivia was recognized for her outstanding academic achievements in elementary school, but also for her achievements in creating Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.) and raising funds for her school to offer tutoring programs for those with financial needs. This is the year S.T.E.P. officially began

April 2013 - Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence

  • The Johana Knox Award, named for one of West Volusia’s best-known volunteers, began in 2009 to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of like-minded volunteers in the community.
  • This year, in honor of the late Johana Knox’s love and commitment to children, the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation also presented its first-ever youth award to 11-year-old Deltona resident Olivia Rene Russo-Hood. Her passion to improve her community may have been ignited in 2009, after her family’s home was destroyed by a flood. Toward this end, Russo-Hood created Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.) as a youth social entrepreneurship idea organizing social change, according to her nomination.
  • Russo-Hood’s first project was a used-shoe collection and fundraising partnership with Volusia-Flagler Family YMCAs called “Leave a Good Footprint.” She organized a drive that collected more than 1,500 pairs of shoes to be distributed globally, and raised more than $700 for area scholarships to help needy children participate in YMCA activities.
  • “People like Olivia Rene Russo-Hood, and our other outstanding Johana Knox Award nominees have blazed a trail of goodness and leadership to help strengthen our community,” said Ed Noseworthy, President and CEO of Florida Hospital Fish Memorial. “It is our humble pleasure to bring recognition to those who do not seek it so that others may be inspired to follow in their footsteps.”

December 2014 - YMCA "Making a Difference" Award for Community and Service Excellence

  • The Y prides itself on the pillars of Youth Development, Social Responsibility, and Healthy Living.
  • "We knew Olivia was a special kid the day we met her,” said Jim Harris, Director of Sports Programs at Four Townes YMCA. “Her passion and respect for the land around her just exudes from her in a way that makes you want to participate,” continued Harris.
  • This award was created to honor Olivia's service to our local, national, and global community. We are very proud to be members of our local YMCA - who was the first partner to Olivia for the "Leave a GOOD Footprint" campaign that raised funds for local sports scholarships, reduced impact of shoes in national landfills, and gave thousands of pair of shoes to those in need globally.

July 2014 - Kohl’s Cares Local and Regional Scholarship Recipient for Community Service and Social Responsibility
Kohl’s Department Stores’ (NYSE: KSS) Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program honors nearly 200 deserving volunteers with $1,000 scholarships toward higher education. Olivia was chosen with two other youths from the Orlando-area from more than 37,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact in their local communities. “Kohl’s is proud to recognize the 182 regional winners nationwide for their dedication to making their communities a better place to live,” said Bevin Bailis, Kohl’s senior vice president, communications and public relations. “We commend these bright volunteers for being inspiring examples for others as they have made a difference in their own communities and touched the lives of others through their efforts.”

April 2015 - Prudential Spirit of Community Award
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to honor middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.
The program's goals are to applaud young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities. Over the past 19 years, more than 370,000 young Americans have participated in the program, and more than 100,000 of them have been officially recognized for their volunteer efforts.
Olivia was honored to be in the top 10% of all nominees, and was nominated by community leaders.

  • February 2014 - Nominee for the John Maxwell Leadership Award
  • April 2014 - Nominee for the Johana Knox Chrysalis Youth Award
  • March 2015 - Nominee for the Peace First Prize
  • April 2015 - Honoree for the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
  • May 2015 - Nominee for the Coca-Cola Pay it Forward Academy
  • May 2015 - 2nd place regional winner Science Olympiad "Write it, Do it"
  • January 2016 - Appointed to the National Youth Advisory Committee for generationOn
  • February 2016 - co-captain and 2nd place regional winner, debate "Finding Your Purpose"
  • May 2016 - Presenter Johana Knox Chrysalis Award for Youth
  • May 2016 - Featured in Orlando Family Magazine
  • June 2016 - Visionary Award for the Warrick Dunn Charities Beauty of Business and Giving Community Angels Award
  • June 2016 - 2nd place International Eco-Heroes Award
  • ​July 2016 - Daily Point of Light Award
  • ​August 2016 - Peace Fund Hero of the Week
  • ​January 2017 - President's Volunteer Service Award
  • January 2017 - Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist State of Florida
  • March 2017 - 2017 Futurist "The Root"
  • ​November 2017 - Celebrity Educator - Community Educator Award
  • February 2018 - President's Volunteer Service Award
  • February 2018 - Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist State of Florida
  • ​April 2018 - Entrepreneurs International - Inaugural Youth Entrepreneur grant recipient
  • April 2018 - Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA)
  • June 2018 - RYLA Inspirational Leadership Award recipient
  • ​July 2018 - 14th Annual Power of Children's Award honoree Children's Museum of Indianapolis 


Who is Olivia?

Olivia is a catalyst for social responsibility. She created S.T.E.P. after having been impacted by a FEMA flood that took away her home, school, belongings and community. Although she experienced homelessness and disaster, she also experienced the good communities can do when they come together for a bigger purpose. That is what birthed S.T.E.P. as a way to give back to communities and to engage people to come up with ways to make this Earth a better place for us all.

Olivia has been featured in blogs, articles, radio interviews, and more. She is a recurring guest of the "Own Your Dreams with Ona Brown" motivational radio show, a guest lecturer for Operation Hope (a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center) for their adult entrepreneurship classes, and has been a guest speaker for organizations such as C.A.T.A.L.Y.S.T., Junior League of Boca Raton, Rotary Club, several city councils, Global Youth Initiatives with the John Maxwell Team, and much more. Olivia's projects inspire youth and adults to take action in living responsibly locally, raising awareness nationally, and giving globally. You can read more about Olivia on her LinkedIn page 

What is S.T.E.P.?

S.T.E.P. is a social responsibility initiative intended to fulfill the mission for everyone to live more responsibly with our resources locally, raise awareness for issues nationally, and whenever possible give back globally through either time, resources, or finances. As the founder, Olivia developed the name, the purpose, the mission, and directs all programs.

Together we can make a BIG difference. One S.T.E.P. at at time!