Madison fills the hole in her mom’s heart through kindness
The death of a loved one is one of the most painful things we experience as humans. Knowing we will never hear that person’s voice again or feel their embrace. […]


The death of a loved one is one of the most painful things we experience as humans. Knowing we will never hear that person’s voice again or feel their embrace.

For 14-year-old, Madison losing her grandmother was hard. But she knew the grief was even more profound for her own mother.

Knowing how to help, soothe, and support someone after a significant loss is something we all struggle with.

Madison had a plan. She called a friend for a ride to the mall. She used her babysitting money to purchase a Bulid-A-Bear. She dressed it in scrubs because her grandma was a nurse. She poured love into her creation and had the staff help her transfer a message from her grandmother into the bear. Now at the touch of a button, her grandma’s voice can be heard saying, “Good morning, I hope you have a great day!”

Madison presented her gift to her mother the day following her grandmother’s death.

“It brought me to my knees. The sound of my mom’s voice was something I didn’t think I would ever hear again, but she saved all of the voicemails- who knew?” Madison’s mother told us.

Being a kind and thoughtful soul is Madison’s superpower. Perhaps because life has not always been easy for her, she has an extra dose of empathy. At age four, Madison spent a lot of time in the hospital due to a tumor in her lower intestine. When she began school, learning was a challenge that often would lead to tears of frustration. Learning she has dyslexia and finding a teacher who helped her learn the way she is designed to learn made all the difference.

Many abandon kittens and stranded travelers have benefited from Madison’s caring soul. She has spent many sleepless nights caring for orphaned kittens. She’s also the first person to say “pull over, let’s help” when she sees someone along the side of the road.

While you may never meet Madison in person, we can all benefit from knowing there are young people among us who shine a light in dark times. #WeRPositive our community is a better place because Madison is in it. Do you know of another young person who we could feature? We are actively in search of young do-gooders. We know they are out there. Please nominate the young person in your life who brings the good.

We believe that healthy truths reduce use.

The healthy truth: Teens in Elkhart County aren’t drinking, smoking or using drugs.

But their peers think they are — and that makes a big difference.

Positively Elkhart County is a social norming campaign that aims to change students’ attitudes, behaviors and perceptions surrounding alcohol and drug use.

The goal of our program is to show students in our community that drinking and using drugs is NOT the norm and is NOT “cool.” Research shows this approach will reduce use over time.

Most teens in Elkhart County are making positive choices about alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs.

However, many believe they are in the minority and their typical peers engage in substance use. What teens think about their peers’ behavior has a strong influence on their own choices.

Our surveys show that high school students who believe their typical peer uses drugs or alcohol are 2-3 times more likely to engage in use themselves.



When Students Believe Their Typical Peer Drinks


When Students Know Their Typical Peers Do NOT Drink