While other high school students are worried about prom dates, football games and fitting in, Madison “Madi” Heinecke is doing her best to stand out. The Cyprus High School junior is an exemplary student and involved in just about every worthy community and school cause.
When she heard that bags were needed for a project for the Utah AIDS Foundation’s Seasons Givings Program, Madi jumped on board. Along with the Health Occupation Students of America, she led a drive to get fabric donated from students and staff at the school. After the materials and funds were collected, she and her mom, Sasha Polak, cut, sewed and assembled the bags for the drive, which is sponsored by the Q Business Alliance, an association of queer and allied business owners and professionals. It took more than 12 hours to make all 30 bags required for the drive.
“It was a lot of work at the machines, but I really enjoyed it. I got to spend some time with my mom, which was great,” Madi said.
Making the bags was just one small part of Madi’s forays into philanthropic efforts. She tutors violin at the junior high school multiple times a week and she helps elementary students who have difficulty learning to read. Along with working a part-time job, she’s on the high school swim team, a member of a district-wide symphony and she helped launch a community orchestra, which now has around 50 members.
Madi is counting her volunteer hours as a participant in a nonprofit, humanitarian program called Youth Link, where she’s required to log 80 hours of community service. The group sends the finalists, of which Madi is one, on a humanitarian mission to Peru in the summer.
“It has to be real and useful community service. You can’t just count filing papers or something. You have to fill a real community need,” she said.
Madi is the pride and glory of her mom and her mom’s partner, Wendy, and is a perfect example of a terrific student from a beautiful family.
“Having two moms was never really a problem until junior high school when some kids gave me a hard time,” Madi said. “But I knew I could always talk to my mom and Wendy. I knew they would be there to help me.”
While she’s still trying to decide what career path she wants to pursue, she plans to attend Humboldt State University in California and study biological science.
For more information about how to participate in the UAF’s Seasons Givings Program, go to UtahAIDS.org.