This article came across my news feed this morning. It is yet another great example of the true meaning of Christmas shinning through.
By: Julia LeDoux | Inside NoVA
Published: December 18, 2011
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A 5-year-old Gainesville girl’s unselfish birthday wish will make Christmas brighter this year for some of the area’s most deserving youngsters.
Madalyn Schmidt opted to ask her friends to bring a toy and donate it to Toys for Tots instead of a present for her when she celebrated her birthday Dec. 12, “because lots of kids are not lucky, and I am lucky so I can share,” she said.
Madalyn, who attends kindergarten at Winwood Day Care Center in Gainesville, welcomed 19 families and all six members of her Daisy Girl Scout troop to her party, which took place at House of Bounce.
“This is the first time she had a large birthday party,” said Madalyn’s mom, Rebecca. “Normally, we invite five or six kids to Chuck E. Cheese, but this year, she wanted it at House of Bounce, and you pay a flat fee for up to 25 kids, so I wanted 25 kids to attend to make it worth the money.”
Rebecca already had introduced Madalyn to Toys for Tots, the United States Marine Corps Reserve’s annual toy collection and distribution drive that seeks to make sure every child receives a gift for Christmas, because their Girl Scout Troop, No. 6403, had decided to collect toys for the organization as this month’s service project.
When Rebecca booked Madalyn’s party at House of Bounce, she asked her daughter what she was going to do with 25 birthday presents so close to Christmas.
“Well, I could give some to Toys for Tots,” Madalyn said.
“That’s a great idea.”
But before the deal was sealed, Madalyn had a few more observations for Rebecca: “But, Mommy, if I give them my birthday presents it will be all little girl stuff, and little boys need stuff too but they won’t get any.”
“You could have your friends bring a gift for Toys for Tots instead of presents for you,” Rebecca suggested.
In less than a minute, Madalyn made up her mind but had one more question for her mom: “You’ll still get me a present, right?” Rebecca said she and her family have been fortunate in life and she is determined to ensure that Madalyn appreciates what she has. She also wants to make sure Madalyn pays forward her good fortune and does something productive and good for those who are less fortunate.
“Girl Scouts is the perfect way to start her down that path,” Rebecca said.
“My hope is that she will continue to find new ways to give back to the community.”
This month, Girl Scout Troop 6403 adopted a stream that they will clean this spring.
“I think, as a parent and Girl Scout troop leader, it is my job to introduce her to as many different service opportunities as a can so that as she gets older she can decide the kind of impact she’d like to make and what she wants to do to accomplish that,” Rebecca said. “Her personality is very sweet and compassionate, so we’re nurturing that kind spirit in her now and hoping she does big things in her life.” Toys for Tots still needs volunteers this year at its warehouse at 3320 Noble Pond Way in Woodbridge.
Military editor Julia LeDoux can be reached at 703-369-5718