Mackenzie May

With her leadership role in founding Kids to Kids, Mackenzie May is a shining example of the concept of “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Deeply impacted by seeing her own brother Ryan struggle and succeed despite his autism, Mackenzie’s vision is to take the best practices her family has used with her beloved brother and make them available to a much broader audience of special needs families.  Not content to just help her own family, Mackenzie, reached into her contacts made from being a competitive swimmer with the Kellogg Club swim team for the past 12 years and lifelong resident of Morristown to galvanizes an army of volunteers to initially make weekly swim lessons for 25 special needs children a reality, which has now grown to the Kids to Kids we see today, running 8 developmental sports and arts programs, operating 7 days a week.

 

Living with and loving her brother Ryan, Mackenzie has a special perspective into the challenges that all special needs children and adults face.  At age seven Mackenzie May was interviewed on the TV news about autism.  “They are just like you and me, except their brains just work a little differently,” she said, bringing a compassionate face to the challenges she saw for her brother.  That deep understanding of the special needs community, as both a volunteer and a sibling, drives the vision for the Kids to Kids program.  We aim to create both a safe haven with all of our programs and to change the way children under the spectrum are perceived in the community.  As a sibling of special needs brother, she has a unique vision into the issues for the entire family and how a sibling’s autism impacts the entire family.  Her maturity drives her personally and also helps drive our program.  She’s on a quest to champion awareness and acceptance of differences.   As she often says, “What we do is very important, and it makes a huge difference in the lives of kids, and their families.”  Nurturing and inclusion are a big part of her personal mission and also of the Kids to Kids organization.

 

Mackenzie, a rising junior at Bucknell University is double majoring in International Relations and Spanish maintains a very full schedule with being on the Dean’s List, and leading K2K. She is also a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Mackenzie was consistently recognized by her high school, The Morristown-Beard School, for her volunteer work with the MBS Community Service Award. In 2016 & 2017, she was honored with the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award in recognition and appreciation for her commitment to strengthening our nation and communities through volunteer service.