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SSP student wins Dakota County Award for her Books against Bullying program
Thursday, March 21, 2019 — South St. Paul sixth grader Maddie Kegley is a big hockey fan and one of her favorite professional hockey players is Paul Martin, a Minnesota native. When she saw a poster about his charity, Shine a Ligh7 (Light) Foundation, and their work in supporting organizations in their anti-bullying, mental health awareness, and suicide prevention efforts for youth and young adults, she knew she had to help.
“No kid should be treated differently,” Maddie said in a recent interview with WCCO-TV. “It doesn’t matter what country you’re from or if you have different color hair than somebody else. We are all human and so we should be treated the same.”
A couple of years ago, at the age of 10 and a student at Lincoln Center Elementary School, Maddie started Books Against Bullying, a program that collects and sells new and used books in the community. All books are sold for $1, with the proceeds going to Shine a Ligh7 and other causes humanitarian efforts for children.
According to her website, Maddie's efforts have raised over $2,000 for ShineALigh7 alone, and close to $3,000 for other causes close to Maddie's heart. Now 11 and in middle school, Maddie’s a busy kid who plays hockey and takes school very seriously, but she has never wavered in her dedication to this important cause. Building on her love of hockey, her goal for 2019 is to donate $100 to any NHL team/player who supports anti-bullying, mental health, or suicide prevention efforts. So far she's made donations to Erik Karlsson's Can't Dim My Light campaign and to the Edmonton Oilers, who are involved with Hockey Talks.
In April Kegley will be recognized for her efforts by Dakota County as the recipient of the 2019 Public Health Youth Achievement Award. The award was instituted to recognize contributions from community groups, individuals and youth to promote the health and well-being of the citizens of Dakota County. Maddie was nominated for the award by Kayla Rogers, the school nurse at Lincoln Center.
“Maddie is a great example of the amazing things our young people can accomplish when they are encouraged to follow their passions,” said Superintendent Dave Webb. “South St. Paul is so proud of Maddie and the awareness that she has brought to the important issues of anti-bullying, mental health, and suicide prevention.”