SHS student gives back to her community

SHS student gives back to her community

For the last 16 months, Scottsburg High School freshman Madelyn Shelton has been giving back to the children of her community by volunteering in a program through the Scott County Partnership.

“I was really looking for a place where I could volunteer and do some good. I really found that through Circles,” Shelton said. Circles is an initiative to help break the cycle of generational poverty with the power of developing positive relationships.

In the program where Shelton volunteers, she works with children as the children’s parents, guardians and other adults are taking classes on making positive choices, on learning different methods for managing their children’s behavior, on developing stronger connections within their families, and on acquiring other life-enriching skills.

“I help with the child care. We eat dinner together. The adults and kids split up for classes. We play games and learn about trust, respect and responsibility,” Shelton said.

Each week, Shelton sees children from ages 5 to 15 — and sometimes younger — and she tries to form a close relationship with each child through friendship and through being reliable. For two hours, Shelton spends her Thursday nights reinforcing that she is a constant person in their life and someone the children can trust will be there.

“Circles taught me about myself. You learn your family is bigger than your relatives,” Shelton said. “I think of them as my Circles kids. They really make my day. I see their smiling faces — it turns my whole day around.”

For Shelton, the need to give back and help others stems from her home life. Her parents work in public service related fields — her mother works at Scott County Partnership and her father is a deputy at the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.

“Community service and volunteering has been a part of my family,” Shelton said. “It’s a personal thing. It’s what drives me every morning. My life isn’t about me. I’m so blessed.”

Along with Shelton’s upbringing and outlook on life, she is involved in several student organizations. She is the vice-president of the SHS chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions, is a member of the Science Olympiad, and is a Key Club member. She volunteers additional hours in the community to complete her program requirements as a Scottsburg New Tech High School student.

Amidst her volunteerism and involvement, Shelton makes sure she focuses on her studies.

“I love school. I really love to read,” Shelton said. “Discipline is really key. You’ve got to sit there and do it. My dad always says your school comes first.”

Before coming to Scottsburg in middle school, Shelton attended two other neighboring schools. However, she said coming to Scottsburg has been a good decision.

“Coming to Scottsburg is the best decision I’ve ever made,” Shelton said about learning at Scott County School District 2. “I love Scottsburg.”

Shelton takes those positive experiences at home, her love for school, and her discipline to share with the children she sees each week at Circles.

“People need a little help, a little push,” Shelton said.

Shelton’s willingness to help her community is what will make a positive difference where she lives and where she learns. At Scott County School District 2, Shelton’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.