Eight-year-old Madi Wilson loves drawing, but she’s always had a tough time with self-portraits because there were never any crayons to match the color of her skin. One day, she discovered a special box of crayons with an array of shades for different skin tones. The joy she felt when using those crayons led her on a mission to share that feeling with other kids—and today, she is helping schools across the country bring more inclusion into their classrooms.
Learn more about GoFundMe’s Justice & Equality Cause here.
Third grader Madi Wilson has always loved spending time reading, drawing, and watching movies. However, the vast majority of books she read at school and the movies she watched at home didn’t feature main characters that looked like her. As her awareness grew, Madi started to feel sad that people with her skin tone weren’t being represented.
She had grown accustomed to boxes of crayons with just one or two colors for skin tones, but that changed one day when she got a hold of a multicultural box of crayons featuring 24 different skin tone colors, and for the first time, Madi had the opportunity to draw a true portrait of herself.
“When I first colored with one of the brown crayons, it actually matched me—a crayon really matched me!” Madi says. “And that day, I was so happy that I couldn’t fall asleep. It was like the best dream ever, because I actually had a crayon that looked like me.”
Madi’s mother, Vashti, was able to see the positive impact the special crayons had on her daughter.
“Madi and two other little girls are the only three children at the school that are African American,” she says. “I had all three at my house one day, and it broke my heart to hear them say they wanted straight hair or blonde hair or different colored eyes. So to see them take pride in themselves, and to see Madi drawing herself and be elated that the character looks like her—that it is an accurate depiction and representation of who she is—made me feel so good.”
Encouraged by the joy of her discovery Madi decided to order the special box of crayons for every classroom at her school. She wanted other kids to experience that same feeling of empowerment and validation. After having a difficult time placing a large enough order, Madi decided to take matters into her own hands and launched her very own multicultural crayon line, called WORLD CHANGER.
Madi’s goals were ambitious. Initially, she wanted to supply schools in her community of Solvang with 500 books featuring diverse characters, as well as 1,000 boxes of WORLD CHANGER multicultural crayons. To help cover the cost, Vashti and Madi launched a GoFundMe in June. With the generous donations she’s received, Madi has been working hard to assemble what she calls ‘Madi’s Treasure Boxes’ to deliver to schools across America. ‘Madi’s Treasure Boxes’ are special boxes filled with hardcover books with diverse characters, WORLD CHANGER multicultural crayons, multicultural construction paper, a special coloring book, and a gift card to a local coffee shop to help teachers support small businesses.
Madi recognizes the support she has received from around the world and is forever grateful to everyone who helped her reach her goals.
“Everyone took me under their wing and supported me, and it feels great to see kids happy. I feel like a rainbow confetti cannon popped inside of me.”
Madi’s Treasure Box recently became an official non-profit organization, with a mission of providing multicultural tools to schools across the United States in order to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment. Madi hopes to send out as many boxes as she can because she wants kids of all skin colors to be able to feel excited about drawing themselves.
Madi’s determination to bring about change is inspiring, and she believes other kids can make a difference, too.
“You just have to start by saying what’s in your heart, and that’s where you’ll always find the answer.”