Thirteen-year-old Madilyn Geidel is like most eighth-graders.
She plays sports — soccer and softball — has two brothers and is busy most every night of the week with her activities and on the weekends with travel sports tournaments.
“There’s no stopping,” she said, as she listed each activity by which day of the week she’s at them.
In school, gym class is her favorite part of the day, but she also enjoys learning about science, something she said comes easy to her.
But, unlike most eighth-graders, Madilyn has her own nonprofit organization. And most recently, she raised more than $7,000 at a charity walk she organized for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, something that led to her most recent achievement — being the recipient of the Oklahoma Road Middle School’s new school character education initiative, “The ORMS Way.”
On Oct. 6, the school was recognized by the JDRF as a Gold Star School during an award presentation, Madilyn received her special recognition and the school was presented with a banner. The school also will kick off its new school character education initiative — “The ORMS Way” — during the presentation.
Madilyn’s non-profit is called “Hearts for Hope,” and her fundraiser for the JDRF was the second event she held. The first one, a 5K race to be held on Sunday, April 9, at Freedom Park in Sykesville, brought in just over $3,000, and money went toward Team Impact, an organization that “improve[s] the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team,” according to its website.
This time around, she said, they chose the JDRF because they wanted to find an organization that benefits a lot of people at once.
“There’s a lot of people in our school that live with Type 1 diabetes,” she added.
Madilyn said getting honored by her school — which was a surprise and not something she knew would happen at the assembly — was exciting. It feels good to be recognized, she added.
Principal Erin Brilhart said the new ORMS initiative — which stands for Ownership, Respect, Motivation and Social Awareness — is a way to recognize things kids are doing outside of academics.
“We felt like what Madi did — she is kind of the example of what we’re looking for,” he said. “She’s an awesome kid.”
While academics are a big part of school, Brillhart added, it’s their job to prepare students for the real world.
“They’ve got to have a skill set beyond academics in order to be successful,” he said.
For Madilyn, giving back and helping others just makes sense. She wants to continue doing fundraisers, though her mom, Michele, said she’s trying to limit her to one or two a year.
It’s important for her to be a kid, too, she said.
But for a young person, Madilyn’s got big plans.
“If you have the ability to help people then why not do it?” Madilyn said. “If we can help as many people as we can, that’s a good thing.”