Alumni Spotlight - Madeleine Simko


1. Which school did you attend while you were a Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference participant and how many years were you involved?

I went to Oak Ridge High School and was an active participant with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference for about 3 years. After graduating high school I moved to Montana for college, but I still like to try and find Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference events to participate in when I visit!

2. Why did you join Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference & how did you hear about it?

I wasn’t involved in many extracurricular activities so I thought Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference would be a great activity for me and a way to be involved in the community.

3. How did Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference help you in school, post high school and now? How did your involvement help you with your friends and family, and in life?

I would say that Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference impacted me in three major ways.

1. Community- I always knew it was important to be involved in my community; but Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference showed me why and how. Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference gave me the chance to understand my community on a much deeper level. The importance and value of community was something that stuck with me when I moved from CA to MT for college.

2. Confidence- Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference instilled a profound sense of confidence in me as a young person. It was so empowering to plan and execute successful events, fundraisers, and projects. I never felt limited by the fact that I was in high school. My senior year of high school I sat on Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference’s Board of Directors, and I always felt like my voice mattered just as much as anyone else’s. I’m really grateful to all of the staff, board members, and adult volunteers for this.

3. Life Skills- Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference gave me opportunities to create a resume brimming with real experiences at just 18 years old. I learned about sticking to deadlines, budgeting, professional communication etiquette, identifying and building on my strengths, and so much more.

4. What has your experience been like?

When I look back on my high school experience, Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference is the first thing that comes to mind. I have such amazing memories, and I can really confidently say that I am the person I am today because of Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference. High school wasn’t always the easiest time for me, but Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference was something I could consistently look forward to and a place where I always knew I would be valued.

5. Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experiences with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference?

One of my favorite, favorite projects was the Kids Zone at the Town Center Freedom & Fireworks Celebration. It was just such a happy and fun event (plus I got to carry around my very own, very official walkie talkie the whole day!) And it was always a treat that my mom and sister volunteered with me.

I graduated from the University of Montana this fall and have recently started working as the Marketing, Outreach, and Operations Coordinator for a school based program in Missoula, Montana. Starting my first post college, full time job has been a little bit intimidating; but I know that my experiences with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference have helped set me up to be successful in my career and as an adult in general. I love my job! And I love that I feel confident doing it!

I always struggle to find the right words to describe how much Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference means to me. The impact this organization has had on me is so great.

Inspiring and empowering youth in leadership and service. 

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info@hands4hopeyouth.org

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Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference is a 501(c)3  |  Tax ID# 26-2548690  |  916-294-7426