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Madison Reda ’24 Presents at NCYC

Madison Reda ’24 Presents at NCYC

By Cassidy Darcey, Senior Communications Intern

Madison Reda, a junior at Notre Dame High School, has many reasons to be proud. She is active in Peer Leadership, as a Student Ambassador, and as vice president of Photography Club. But, in addition to her notable contributions here at Notre Dame, Madison recently had the amazing opportunity to speak at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Long Beach, California.

The National Catholic Youth Conference is a three-day experience where Catholic teens of high school age come together for a time of prayer, community, evangelization, catechesis, and service. It is the premiere Catholic youth event on a national scale that gathers people from across America. It is an experience that focuses on community and service in order to feel closer to Christ. This year’s conference welcomed 2,600 attendees.

Madison is very active in her home parish of Saint Augustine of Canterbury in Kendall Park. Guided by the Center for FaithJustice, Madison and other youth in her parish are participants in the NeXt Level program. NeXt Level provides Catholic youth and their mentors with the resources to create passion projects in their own parishes, weeklong service immersion experiences, and resources for advocacy and education.

The NeXt Level program mentors led Madison and her peers in creating their own passion projects focusing on youth mental health, called PEACE of Mind. Their goal is to end the stigma behind mental health and bring education to the community.  PEACE of Mind stands for “prevention, education, awareness, community, and engagement.”  Madison’s leadership role in this project culminated in the invitation to speak at NCYC, along with 5 other teens from various parishes in NJ. They all were chosen to speak about the projects they implemented in their parishes. Only a few of the workshops were facilitated by youths so it is quite an honor to be asked to present.

At the conference, Madison presented in three separate breakout sessions. Over the course of the weekend she spoke to almost 300 people. Madison discussed her parish program and how attendees could begin similar passion programs in their own parishes. Madison spoke about social justice and Catholic Social Teaching, a guide to living a moral and just life. The hope was to have participants identify areas of need in their own parishes and begin the process of creating their own programs.

When asked about her presentations, Madison said that she was not nervous at all. She is so passionate about the topic of youth and mental health. Her favorite experience from the trip was when she was able to sit down and talk one-on-one to other Catholic teenagers about the important topic of mental health, and how they’re working to make a change.

Madison would like to thank Mrs. Paras, her middle school religion teacher, for pushing her to join the NeXt Level program. Madison describes her as “her main supporter and role model.” She would also like to thank Ric and Annie, who are the current moderators for Peace of Mind. 

Mrs. Tracey Reed, a Campus Minister and faculty member at Notre Dame described Madison as someone who “has a fire in her.” She says she is very proud of Madison for her contributions. Mr. Matt Greeley, also a Campus Minister and Religion department faculty, recognizes Madison’s leadership abilities and said she is a “source of pride for the Notre Dame family.”

Madison’s leadership is truly remarkable and we look forward to seeing her succeed in future endevors!

Read more about Madison’s project and the NeXt Level program.

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