Turning Dreams into a Reality

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Madeline Balderas is a junior in high school. She and her family live in West Dallas. Madeline, her younger brother, and older sister have grown up attending the programs and services at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand. She has participated in and benefitted from Brother Bill’s Helping Hand summer sports camps, Back-to-School Cowboy Carnival, and the annual Children’s Christmas Celebration. Thanks to Camp Ozark for All Foundation, she, along with 80 other neighborhood children, have attended a week-long camp in Arkansas for several summers.

Madeleine is an extremely intelligent and hard-working teenager who aspires to be the first person in her family to graduate from college with a full degree. Up until recently, that desire would have remained a dream in the mind of a West Dallas high school student. But, fortunately, motivated students like Madeline were the impetus for Brother Bill’s Helping Hand to partner with the SMU Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to start College & Career Prep this past summer.

For six weeks over the summer Madeline took the necessary steps to begin to make her dream of attending college a reality. Through College & Career Prep she learned about financial aid, standardized tests, applications, personal statements, and much more. In addition, she learned of a wide variety of different careers while touring both SMU and UT Southwestern. At this point in her life she has decided to start her own nonprofit organization after she graduates from college. She wants to expand the work of Brother Bill’s Helping Hand into the Irving area.

In the meantime, Madeline continues to give back to Brother Bill’s Helping Hand and the West Dallas community by volunteering where needed. In addition to volunteering and taking a full load of advanced classes, she recently started working at Chick-fil-A. Madeline wants to use this job to help her gain invaluable work experience, while also saving up for college. Madeline is an extraordinary young woman whose dream of a better life is turning into the reality of a bright future ahead.