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Stars Making a Social Impact: How NASCAR Driver Angela Ruch is Helping Young People To ‘Find Their Voice’

Give a Child a Voice was founded and created by a 16-year-old young man who has experienced bullying, child abuse, and now a terminal illness. This young man over the last three years (while battling an aggressive form of brain cancer) has never missed a beat when it comes to educating and encouraging his peers […]


Give a Child a Voice was founded and created by a 16-year-old young man who has experienced bullying, child abuse, and now a terminal illness. This young man over the last three years (while battling an aggressive form of brain cancer) has never missed a beat when it comes to educating and encouraging his peers about finding one’s voice. This is based on his own experiences, and he is on a mission to break the silence. This young man, Eric Erdman, is my nephew. He has now been given only a few months to live. In his final months, he still wants to keep pushing and wants to do yet another gym give-a-way for a deserving school. He wants to gain the attention of children and parents nationwide to make them understand the importance of a child’s voice. He wants children to truly become the authors of their life/story.


As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Angela Ruch. Angela is an American professional stock car racing driver and currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. She drives the №8 Chevrolet Silverado for NEMCO Motorsports and the №44 Silverado for Niece Motorsports. Earlier this year, she came 8th at the Daytona NASCAR Truck Series. Angela and her sister, Amber Cope, made NASCAR history on October 23, 2010, by being the first twins to compete in one of its top three series. That day they made their NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series in Martinsville, VA. She is the third generation of Copes to enter into the world of racing and is the niece of former DAYTONA 500Ò Champion, Derrike Cope.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this career path?

I got started racing go-Karts at the age of 9, not even knowing what it was nor the break from gas. Racing has been in my family, my grandfather raced twin-engine dragsters, my dad raced growing up, and my uncle won the Daytona 500 in 1990… so needless to say, racing is in my blood! When first getting started in racing, I was never sure where it would take me! My family wanted to get my twin sister and I involved in sports so we would be passionate about something but also keep us out of trouble… lol. Little did I know, I would become so passionate about racing, and I was good at it.

I traveled all over the world racing against grown men my dad’s age at the age of nine and dominated. I continued moving up the ranks from go-karts to super late models and traveled all over the Northwest winning races. At that point, that’s when I knew I wanted to compete in the top series of NASCAR and race against my uncle Derrike and try to be one of the top females in the sport…..and here I am!!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or takeaway that you took out of that story?

One of the funniest moments I’ve had in my career was with my twin sister Amber. We had a live interview on a local tv station, and my husband was watching in the green room, and they asked us if we support any charities. I remember Amber, and I paused, then we looked at each other, and the only thing that came out of my mouth was, “no, but we want to start a foundation rescuing toy/miniature puppies.” I remember the lady pausing, then responding, “do they give those puppies away?” Hahahaha, it was a blonde moment I suppose live on air.

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to emulate your success?

My advice for a young up and comers… it’s not as easy as it looks! It takes an excellent team to back you up to make this dream a reality. I have been chasing my dreams since I was a little girl; hard work and determination are keys to success! Never give up!

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

My husband Mike Ruch and my nephew Eric Erdman, hands down.

My husband not only supports me in my career on the track but also off the track as an entrepreneur and new mom. He is always at trackside, either cheering me on from the pit box or the RV (if we don’t have a sitter for our little ones). Recently we added a beautiful baby boy to our family through adoption, and I feel blessed to have Mike as my husband. His love and admiration for others is truly remarkable.

My nephew Eric’s courage, selflessness, and fight for all in which he has overcome in his life and now, unfortunately, losing his battle to cancer. In the final months of his life, all he wants to do is pay it forward. Eric founded Give a Child a Voice, and I will make it my mission to continue to help Eric pay it forward by helping other children find the courage to speak out when faced with unfortunate circumstances.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

NASCAR is a large platform, and I am in alliance with the Give a Child a Voice Foundation. I plan to use NASCAR as a platform for Give a Child a Voice to help make an impact in as many lives as possible since they focus on educating children and adults about the importance of a child’s voice. Currently, we are working on giving away the Give a Child a Voice Fitness Center Vol. 3. We have launched a campaign nationwide to give back to a deserving school, and we are seeking donations as well as encouraging students to nominate their school for the gym transformation.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Give a Child a Voice was founded and created by a 16-year-old young man who has experienced bullying, child abuse, and now a terminal illness. This young man over the last three years (while battling an aggressive form of brain cancer) has never missed a beat when it comes to educating and encouraging his peers about finding one’s voice. This is based on his own experiences, and he is on a mission to break the silence. This young man, Eric Erdman, is my nephew. He has now been given only a few months to live. In his final months, he still wants to keep pushing and wants to do yet another gym give-a-way for a deserving school. He wants to gain the attention of children and parents nationwide to make them understand the importance of a child’s voice. He wants children to truly become the authors of their life/story.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

Through Give a Child a Voice, Eric Erdman has now managed to do two high school weight rooms — Give a Child a Voice Fitness Center Vol. 1 in Millersburg, PA, and Vol.2 in Halifax, PA. These two gyms have impacted not only the children that go to these schools today but will impact the future generations that will attend these high schools.

Are there three things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

1. Brands and companies can partner with Give a Child a Voice for the gym giveaway.

2. Students can nominate a deserving school for a gym transformation (nominations are open until 12/31).

3. Anyone can donate money to the third gym transformation.

4. Non-profits who focus on child abuse, bullying, and life-threatening childhood illness could partner with Give a Child a Voice so together they can impact many children.

Give a Child a Voice plans on becoming the hub to assist children and families in getting the help they need.

For further information visit https://www.giveachildavoice.us

How to nominate link: https://www.giveachildavoice.us/nominate

GoFundMe link: http://bit.ly/GiveaChildaVoiceFitnessCenterGive-A-Way

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

A. It doesn’t happen overnight

B. You must believe in yourself before anyone else does

C. Blood, sweat, and tears

D. Practice makes perfect

E. It takes stupid money to play in this sport

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The Give a Child a Voice Movement.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

My favorite quote is: “when they go low, we go high.”

This means to me that when they’re ready to give up, we need to push harder and keep digging!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would normally say I would love to do breakfast with Elon Musk. It is the car enthusiast in me. What an intelligent man behind such a huge company.

But I must say today I would love to hang with the Kardashians, such strong independent women who have really made a name for themselves in the beauty world and fashion industry, such icons they are!

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

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