Spreading Hope

Senior runs community service club

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Carly Mauldin

Serving with a Smile • Senior Madison Celley leads her Hope Initiative club meeting.

  As a sophomore, senior Madison Celley was very busy. She acted in plays with the theater department, she was an alto in choir, as well as being in drama club and media, but she still wished she could do more. Celley wanted to find a way to help people in her community.

“My sophomore year of high school, I wanted to join a club that was focused on doing good in the world,” Celley said. “I grew up in a home with a single mom who struggled, and I always knew I wanted to help people who needed the help.”

She noticed that there were no community service focused clubs at KHS. Instead of forgetting about it, she started thinking about that she could do to change that.

“I talked to one of my teachers and he told me about Hope Initiative,” Celley said. “The club was put on pause because no one had time to handle it. I was then told that I could start it back up if I got some kids to join, so I did just that. Hope Initiative is an organization, inside and outside of school, dedicated to helping others in our community.”

Now, Celley is a senior, serving her third year as Hope Initiative president. Leading her club is no small task.

“Over the years, we have shaped Hope Initiative to be a student led organization, meaning all of our ideas, projects, and events are held responsible by our members,” Celley said. “Basically, unlike other clubs, our members plan, schedule, and make arrangements all themselves. It was really hard to find teens with the same passion to help others. Not many people have an open heart to spend their time doing community service on the weekend.”

Celley’s club has continued to grow and gain new members that are willing to take on responsibility. Being involved requires students to be mature and bold.

“The hardest part about running Hope initiative is probably the pressure,” Celley said. “Since we are focused on being ‘student led,’ we have to call or meet up with adults in the community for fundraising opportunities or future projects. I have to set a great first impression because I’m representing our club when I’m reaching out to others.”

Celley puts a lot of time into her club, and her efforts are recognized and appreciated by her team.

“Madison has worked incredibly hard to make Hope Initiative successful,” Hope Initiative Vice President junior Rachel Bowman said. “In the years I’ve known her, she’s been nothing but hardworking, dedicated, and kind.”

A lot of phone calls, fundraising, and planning goes into every project. Members have to be patient and hardworking, but it’s all worth it when they get to see the positive effect that they are having in the lives of so many people in our community.

“I still believe my first Christmas project in charge of Hope Initiative will always be my favorite memory,” Celley said. “Of course, our first year was absolutely wild, but I still remember starting our tradition of raising money at the Lighting of the Oil Derricks. In our first year of participating in the event, we raised over $300 to buy presents for seven children at a local rescue mission. When I arrived at the rescue mission, the ladies who worked there came out and helped me carry all the presents in, and it just felt good knowing that I bought Christmas for kids.”

Their Christmas project has become a yearly tradition that the whole club looks forward to.

“You will never understand how great it feels to put in all this time and effort raising money just to know that you helped at least one person who really needed it,” Celley said. “It just makes you feel so good when you drop off those presents. You may not always be able to meet the people you help, but you could just imagine seeing that little girl getting so excited to open that doll kit that she thought she wasn’t going to get.”

Celley hopes to make a difference not only in her community, but also in her school by raising awareness for issues and encouraging others to do more good.

“I really believe that Hope Initiative is helping our students realize how big the issue of homelessness and poverty really is and how we should be grateful for the lives we’ve been given,” Celley said. “I think it’s extremely important to get involved in your community. I feel like our society could learn and grow from community service. Instead of being reserved to yourself, you could engage with new people and do good in your community.”

Students can join Hope Initiative by talking to Madison or sponsor Jessica Montgomery. The club meets every Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. in room 227.

Hope Initiative has grown so much these past three years and so have I. Being a part of a club like this gives you a new perspective on life. It teaches you character and selflessness by putting someone else’s needs before yours. I can’t express enough how proud I am of our members for being leaders in our community. It’s definitely a great way to meet new people you can relate to.”

— Madison Celley

“Hope Initiative has grown so much these past three years and so have I,” Celley said. “Being a part of a club like this gives you a new perspective on life. It teaches you character and selflessness by putting someone else’s needs before yours. I can’t express enough how proud I am of our members for being leaders in our community. It’s definitely a great way to meet new people you can relate to.”

Celley encourages other young people to step up and start something for themselves, in or out of school.

“I think if you really have the passion for something, you should go for it,” Celley said. “Sometimes, it’s hard being in charge of something bigger than you, but in the end I promise it’s worth it.”