MAD Kids #1: Emilie on Saving Dogs and Sharing the Dignity
Young people often get a bad rap when they’re portrayed in the media, but I meet so many who are helping to make their community, and the world, a better place by their presence in it. So, I’m starting a new series of interviews with MAD kids and young people—where MAD stands for Making a Difference.
My first MAD kid is Emilie Meyerkort, who saw a need (more than one actually!) and not only came up with a plan to help, but inspired her school community to get on board as well.
Hi Emilie, thanks so much for agreeing to chat to me about the causes that are important to you, one of which is Share the Dignity. For anyone who doesn’t know, what is Share the Dignity?
Share the Dignity is a great charity that helps homeless girls and ladies.
How does it do that?
They want to make sure that all women have access to sanitary supplies (that’s pads and tampons) all year round, but at Christmas they run the #itsinthebag campaign, asking people to donate a pre-loved bag with everyday essentials, which they then pass onto shelters and refuges around the country.
How and why did you get involved?
I got involved because my teacher wanted me to do a special project, to find a way of helping some people. She let me work on the project during class time when I’d finished my work. I wrote a proposal, made an appointment to see the Principal, wrote an email to the Share the Dignity organisers, designed posters and spoke about the project to the other students and parents at school assembly.
If others want to contribute to Share the Dignity, how can they go about it?
They can donate a bag with shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, roll-on deodorant, pads and also a gift or something nice. The bags can be pre-loved but the supplies need to be new. If you’re making a bag for a teenage girl, you tie a purple ribbon around the handle. There will be collection boxes in every Bunnings across the country.
What is the last day people can drop off their Share the Dignity packs?
Pink Share the Dignity boxes will be in Bunnings from Friday 22 November to Saturday December 7.
Where can we go to find out more info?
Head to the Share the Dignity website, which will tell you everything you need to know.
This isn’t your first cause you’ve got involved with—what else have you done?
My first drive I did was for the Shenton Park Dog Refuge. I started it in Year 3 and did another drive this year. We collected towels, sheets and rugs for the dogs to keep warm and this year we collected food and treats for the dogs. I love dogs as we have one of our own and it’s sad that some dogs aren’t as lucky as ours and end up in the home. The Principal and the admin staff at the school all have dogs and got right behind the project. The Principal then suggested it become an annual event at the school. Now, I’m starting to think about who I can pass it onto when I graduate and go to High School in a couple of years.
What was the hardest or scariest thing about trying to get a project started?
The scariest part is talking about it to the whole school at assembly. It was also hard to book a meeting with my Principal to discuss my idea, not because she’s scary but because she’s busy.
How did you feel after your saw the results of your idea and efforts?
I feel proud and happy that I’ve made a change in the world.
What advice would you give other young people who might want to make a difference, but don’t know where to start?
I would say start with something that’s local and needs help, and then you can go bigger and bigger. I’d also say do something that you like and you can connect with.
When you’re not MAD (making a difference), what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy playing with my sister and my dog.
Who inspires you?
My teacher Miss Monty and my Mum, Shannon. Miss Monty because she sees something special in every child and believes they don’t need to wait to be an adult to change the world. Mum likes helping everyone.
Who has made a difference in your life and why?
My dog Poppy has because she’s made me a more happy cheerful person.
What’s your favourite book or story?
I am reading Little Witch Academy which is from Japan. My dad bought the series for me.
If you could wake up and choose one thing to do all day, what would that be?
Stay in bed or play with my sister.
What is one thing you’d love to do or achieve in the future?
I would love to become an actress and also change the world so no one starves or gets too thirsty.
Any final words about being a MAD Kid?
I do it because I like helping people. You don’t have to change the whole world. It doesn’t have to be big; it can be a small thing. It still makes a difference.