by Zoë Kaplan
While many seventh graders find themselves busy with school work, playing sports, and other extracurricular activities, Madison Ardanowski focuses on something different: community service.
Over the past month, she has been collecting new and unused coloring books for children at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla. She hopes to collect and send more than 100 books to the hospital. She currently has 70 books and 35 boxes of crayons. Donations to her project have come not only from her local community, but also from a friend all the way in Madagascar.
Coloring books have soared in popularity recently, especially with adults. Containing a variety of themes and images, many of these books are advertised as “relaxing” and “stress-relieving.” It is this stress-relieving quality that inspired Ardanowski to begin her project.
While this project may be Ardanowski’s first one helping the hospital, it’s far from her first community service effort. As a Girl Scout, she has participated in many community service activities aimed at local community groups. A lover of animals, she’s helped local animal shelters and the Transfiguration Church with their blessing of the animals. In addition, she volunteers for the Westchester Pulaski Association’s annual Heritage Day, a tribute to her Polish heritage.
Community service is only a graduation requirement for students at Sleepy Hollow High School, not in the middle school. This clearly hasn’t stopped Ardanowski from doing her fair share of service; she does it simply because she “gets pleasure in helping people and paying it forward.” Ardanowski has an enlightened attitude when it comes to helping others.
“Many people in the world struggle with things, and they don’t get many opportunities to get help…[Doing community service] is my small way of helping us all recognize each other and do something good together,” she said.