Maddison-Vale Ellson is a Childhood and Youth student, and with her inaugural year under her belt, she is packed and ready to deliver goodwill packages to people in war-torn Ukraine.
For the past few weeks, Maddison has been busy collecting donations for the people of Truskavets – a town near Lviv – working with the charity Help for Ukraine BAMK.
She said: “It’s always innocent people and their children who get caught up in horrible situations like what is happening in Ukraine. After seeing what is happening, I felt hopeless just watching it on a screen, and after working with children closely I knew the impact it would be having so decided I needed to do something to help.
“So, I started a simple shoebox collection for an orphanage in Truskavets – toys, things for colouring in, or sweets – just little things that I would take out there. How little did I know then how big this would become.
“We now have a total of 200 shoeboxes and around 50 bin liner bags full of clothes. I’m still amazed by this, so thank you to everyone who has added to and supported this total.”
Now with the generous haul of essentials and extras ready to go, Maddison-Vale only needs to sort the final details before heading off.
“Obviously there is risk here. Nothing is guaranteed no matter how well you plan, but I’m fully aware of what I could be going into and have organised the trip so I won’t be on my own.
“Doing something like this is also something that runs in the family. I come from a very close-knit family of very caring people.
"We put other people before ourselves and my Mum did something similar years ago for a friend’s charity in Romania, going out there twice with shoebox donations.
"I look up to my Mum, she means so much to me, and I know she and my Dad understand why I need to do this and are proud of me.”