At 20 years old, Madison has already dedicated much of her life toward advocacy and empowerment of youth experiencing learning differences. She shares her personal story of working with dyslexia, dysgraphia, short-term memory loss, and ADHD, in an effort to inspire others to do the same. Madison is a student coordinator for the Eye to Eye mentoring program. Eye to Eye is a national movement that creates awareness about learning differences and ADHD through an arts-based curriculum coupled with one-on-one mentoring. Madison supports youth and engages their parents to help them better understand what it's like for youth with learning differences, and the challenges they may face day to day.
This spring, Madison is working with fellow students to host a Share your Story event on the Gonzaga campus. Individuals will share their stories of overcoming challenges and the stigma of having a learning difference. Local educators will be invited to the event to increase awareness of what it is like for youth growing up with learning disabilities and what they can do to become advocates for these youth. Madison is most definitely inspiring, and dedicated to making a positive social impact, particularly in the realm of education.
How did I get here? When I was a Girl Scout, my troop visited a women's shelter. I was fascinated by the stories that were shared. I didn't want to leave.
My sophomore year of high school, I got to tell my own story about learning disabilities during a TEDx speech. This led to me becoming a speaker for Learning Ally and a finalist for the International Dyslexia Association. Something I had felt so much shame for in the past suddenly was celebrated.
My Junior year, I went to Punta Gorda, Belize and learned about what it means to walk with others in solidarity. I received a solidarity ring, a reminder to walk with those who are "othered." Eye To Eye allows me to do this every Monday. We walk with youth who have been set back by a disability. We find ways together, to think dynamically, and actually fall in love with the fact that we think differently.
I want youth to be celebrated for being different, to find that they can be successful. It was that feeling of ability that allowed me to succeed. I am honored to be able to help facilitate that change for someone else.