Mackenzie Ryanne Spade Gives Back to the Community
It’s amazing what youth can achieve when encouraged. Mackenzie Ryanne Spade, a 17-year-old Chandler resident, was told that anything is possible. She believed it. She was taught the value of giving back to one’s community and how volunteering makes a difference in the lives of both the giver and receiver. As a result, she volunteered often, and in the process made significant life-changing discoveries.
While volunteering in a Tarwater Elementary Kindergarten classroom, she was asked to help some kids with letter names and sounds, and discovered she didn’t know them. This realization led to her to a dyslexia diagnosis at the beginning of her Junior Year of high school.
“The way my dyslexia works is that I memorize how everything is said and spelled,” says Spade.
While school was always an uphill battle, she tested one-point shy of the required score to receive extra help in the classroom and struggled in silence for years. When she recently hosted a luncheon for Treasure House to fulfill her Flower Girl Hands of Service project, she was doing more than just raising money for a great cause.
“It was also about me overcoming everything I have gone through and proving to myself that I am capable of anything,” says Spade.
Her cousin Liam, who’s nearly two-years-old, has Down Syndrome. He inspired her to choose Treasure House for her project.
“I get to help watch him three days a week, and it has changed my life for the better. I know that, just like me, he will be able to do anything that he puts his heart and mind to, and that places like Treasure House will help him accomplish his goals.”
Spade began volunteering when she was 10-years-old, and has had her helping hands in many programs since, such as ICAN, Lucky Paws, Sharing Down Syndrome and Feed My Starving Children. She also volunteers at the King of Glory Lutheran Church and for the Chandler Service Club Flower Girls. Her diagnosis has pushed her and has given her the tools to overcome her challenges.
In addition to her many volunteer ventures, Spade is also a senior at Hamilton High School and has a job. She gladly trades art and dance for math and science. She loves her Human Biology class and wants to go to college to become an Ultrasound Technician.
While she’s involved in many programs, Spade recognizes that it’s the little things that make a difference and encourages people to help in any way they can, anywhere they can.
“Volunteering doesn’t have to be through corporations,” says Spade. “Volunteering is just a fancy word for helping others and treating them the way you would want to be treated.”
She recommends doing simple things like carrying someone’s groceries to their car, or mowing a neighbor’s lawn. She takes it one step further, saying a simple smile or compliment can make a world of difference to someone.
“Be kind to everyone,” says Spade. Simple, yet wise words to live by this holiday season.