Maddie Earle-Sadler says she was raised by ‘very strong parents’

“They instilled in me that what you put into the community is what you get out of it,” says the Frederick Irwin Anglican School alum.

Maddie was named Citizen of the Year (Youth) at the 2021 Community Citizenship of the Year awards and said it was important to re-value our youth.

“I figured if I wanted the world to be a better place for me in the future, I had to make sure the people making the decisions were really cool,” Maddie laughed.

COMMUNITY: Maddie Earle-Sadler says her passion for working with young people comes from growing up working with children who weren’t given the opportunities they deserved early in life. Photo: provided.

Maddie’s first foray into youth work came at age 16, when she volunteered as a camp counselor through the Global Good Foundation.

“I was heavily involved in community theater and one of the women who worked at the Koorliny Arts Center became the CEO of the Global Good Foundation, which ran camps in Kulin.

“The camps started when I was 16, the age required to volunteer, so I continued volunteering for three years.”

When Maddie graduated from high school, she did a year at Curtin University before a job opportunity at Camp Kulin presented itself.

“A job opportunity presented itself there and at this point I had finished my freshman year of college and wasn’t thrilled to go back, so I applied and I ended up working with them for two years.”

Maddie said it was during this time that her passion for working with young people grew in all ways, having the opportunity to work with and provide resources to children who would typically have been absent.

“It worked like an American summer school – there were camps every school holiday and we saw kids who potentially came from trauma or disadvantaged backgrounds, refugee kids, and some kids who might need help learning additional skills.

While working at Camp Kulin, Maddie experienced a moment that confirmed to her that she was pursuing the right field of work.

“It was a summer camp where I worked with teenagers, we were in the pool every day – and we went to the biggest waterslide in the WA area, it was 18 meters high.

“One of the boys said all week we were going on the waterslide ‘but not today’, so on the last day I was like ‘I thought you were a little scared about this, but should we go tobogganing today?’.”

The boy walked up the 20 steps to the first platform with Maddie before asking to be seated.

“I said absolutely – we can sit down. In the meantime, there was another boy who had probably passed us about three times. He was in my group, and the fourth time he came up the stairs, he looked at the other boy and said ‘let’s go together’.”

Maddie watched him take the anxious boy’s hand and walk backwards up the stairs with him, stopping intermittently and waiting when he needed to.

“They got to the top and went down the slide together. It was just the most amazing moment.

“Teenagers can get involved sometimes, and these boys didn’t know each other a week ago. He stopped and had some fun time to help another kid conquer what he needed to conquer .

“In that moment, having another child take over in that leadership role will always stay with me.”

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Maddie alongside her fellow volunteers at Camp Kulin.  Picture: Facebook.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Maddie alongside her fellow volunteers at Camp Kulin. Picture: Facebook.

After completing her time at Camp Kulin, Maddie took on another regional position at the Bruce Rock Community Resource Center, where she led youth activities and worked with local schools.

At this point, Maddie began to be recognized for her contributions and was invited to be part of ‘Humans of the Wheatbelt’ – a project based on ‘Humans of New York’, which recognizes locals who have incredible stories to tell. .

“I was interviewed for that, which was a great experience, and I was kind of poached for my next job from there,” she laughed.

“Avon Community Services approached me with a job opportunity in Merredin – so I met them and got to ask them all the questions like ‘how will this benefit young people?’ – for me it is really important.

“I walked out of that meeting and was talking with my boss at the time and she asked me how it went and I said ‘I think I’m going to work at Merredin’, and she said that ‘She was thrilled for me.”

Working in the WA region and growing up around Mandurah and south of the river made Maddie realize there was a kind of divide in access to resources.

“There are so many children, especially at the regional level, who don’t have access to the opportunities they should have.

“Even in Mandurah and south of Perth, you see a very big divide between people who have access and those who don’t.

“There is so much space to create opportunities for people who have the ability but not the means.”

Maddie said going to a private school and growing up with food on the table made her feel “very lucky”, and she saw other students around her who didn’t have those things.

“I remember thinking that I had these things, and that there were people who didn’t have what I had and how important it was to improve the situation for those who were really struggling. .”

“I remember thinking that I had these things, and that there were people who didn’t have what I had and how important it was to improve the situation for those who were really struggling. .”

College was another place where Maddie witnessed the divide firsthand, with some students unable to experience after-school programs or clubs and groups on campus because they relied on their paychecks.

“Some students could put all those hours into college shows and projects, while others had to drive straight to work because that three-hour shift was what they were counting on for the week.

“Having volunteered with children for so many years who didn’t have access to the opportunities they should have – it’s up to you, and I thought to myself, ‘How can I do more ?”.”

Sometimes I think ‘no wonder I feel like I can take over the world, because my mom did’.

Maddie has worked in her current position at Merredin for 11 months and said she has already had a number of meaningful moments.

“I’ve implemented a practice of ‘we don’t swear here’, and the kids have built up this incredible respect – they won’t even swear at me if I see them in public.

“I’m so happy where I am right now – I’ll definitely be here for a few years.

“Particularly in regional places children can feel a sense of abandonment as services will come for a few years and go – it’s the same with teachers and police, it’s kind of the nature of the beast here.

“I plan to eventually diversify into chaplaincy and student support which would be made available in addition to school staff in regional schools.

“There’s a big divide with kids falling through the cracks and being labeled as ‘naughty kids’, but what they need is that extra attention that they don’t get because we don’t. don’t get as many of those services here.”

The education system is a passion Maddie inherited from her mother Marie, a cancer survivor who worked for many years as a teacher.

“My mum did everything – she took me to school and rehearsals, even when I was recovering.

“Sometimes I think ‘no wonder I feel like I can take over the world, because my mom did’.”

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