“I gained self-confidence because helping others made me feel good about myself, and when I make other people happy it makes me happy. Being an activist makes me put others first before myself which I enjoy doing,” says Madalyn Claire Cranford, a senior at St. Martin’s Episcopal School.
Cranford’s most rewarding volunteer experience is with Krewe de Camp, a camp that gives special needs children a whole week of fun to meet new friends. The camp is located at Camp Abby each year on the Northshore.
Some of Cranford’s responsibilities are to make sure that the camper she is paired with has everything they need at all times and to ensure that the camper’s routine wasn’t disturbed.
Each morning, Cranford would help her camper wake up and get ready for the day. The days of camp consisted of swimming, games and arts and crafts. Each night after dinner, there is a nightly activity for the campers to participate in.
“After camp was over I had this smile on my face, knowing I did something good for the world. I made an impact on someone’s life and that is an amazing feeling,” says Cranford.
In the eighth grade, Cranford organized a bead drive and got her community to donate beads to St. Michael’s Special School. Many of her classmates participated and it made her feel great to do something worthwhile.
Mallori Cranford, Cranford’s twin sister, has inspired her to become an activist. Mallori has Down syndrome and has attended St. Michael’s since
she was 6.
Each year, the students of St. Michael’s perform a Christmas play. During the play, Cranford notices how her sister and fellow classmates play and interact kindly with each other. “I wanted to be surrounded by this type of energy, so that’s why I chose to do my activism with these special kids,” says Cranford. “She teaches me new things every day, and the most important thing I have learned from her is how to give unconditional love.”
Cranford is undecided about where she wants to go to college, but knows that she wants to become a nurse practitioner. In her adult life, she wants to continue her activism by helping people with disabilities. One of the ways she wants to continue her activism is by running her own summer camp for those with special needs.