GREENVILLE — The granddaughter of a Darke County couple has been participating in beauty pageants, as well as a host of volunteer activities, since she was 8 years old.
Most recently, judges at the Orlando, Florida-based World Imperial Beauties pageant were so impressed with 15-year-old Madison Kinninger’s interview skills and extensive volunteer work that she was crowned their 2018 Goodwill Ambassador.
“We are very proud of all the accomplishments Madison has achieved,” Linda Kinninger said.
According to her grandmother, Madison is on the board of her local chapter of the nonprofit group Autism Speaks, as well as participating in the Key Club and the March of Dimes.
Growing up with a brother with autism, Madison said, has given her a first-person perspective of what it means to care for someone in need. Her volunteer work also includes collecting clothing and organizing food drives for the less fortunate, as well as helping build a community garden for the homeless and joining other volunteers in Jamaica to help build homes for families in need.
Madison’s mother, Shannon Kinninger, said that as a registered nurse, she has always encouraged Madison to help others.
“I’ve grown up doing community service work, and I’ve instilled the desire to do that in my children,” Kinninger said. “I’m just so proud of her because of her big heart and the love she has for making our little part of the community the best it can be.”
As Goodwill Ambassador, Madison will help find volunteer opportunities for other World Imperial winners and contestants all over the world.
“She’s working her crown,” Kinninger said. “She does what she needs to to get things done.”
According to Kinninger, her daughter’s volunteerism grew out of her love for competing in pageants as well.
“We were trying to find something that was hers and hers alone,” Kinninger said. “We tried dancing; we tried cheerleading. Finally, when she was in middle school, they had a pageant to benefit the school. After that she got the bug, and she’s been doing them every since.”
Her involvement in pageants also contributed to her own personal development, Madison said.
“I was really shy,” Madison said. “It was getting into pageants, and meeting all kinds of different people, that got me to where I am today. It got me out of my comfort zone and made me so proud of myself for doing something I wouldn’t normally do.”
After high school, Madison plans to study to become a veterinarian. Her dream is to open up a clinic specializing in providing affordable pet care for service animals, like her brother’s special needs dog, which died of cancer because her family couldn’t afford the treatments..
In the meantime, Madison’s favorite quote, from the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh, sums her philosophy up perfectly.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think,” she said.