Violet Richardson Award

2020 Award Recipients 

Violet Richardson Award 


The Violet Richardson Award recognizes young women, ages 14 to 18, who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts such as fighting drugs, crime and  violence, cleaning up the environment and working to end   discrimination and poverty.  Volunteer actions that benefit  women or girls are of particular interest.  This monetary award is divided equally between the awardee and the organization she represents. 


Madison A. DesPres 

Organization:  Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York 

$1,000 award 

Madison is a senior at Galway Junior/Senior High School and has been an active member of the Girl Scouts of Northeastern  New York since kindergarten.  The Girl Scouts have been serving girls K-12 in this region for over 100 years pursuing its mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. 

Madison sees herself aligned with the Girl Scout vision for G.I.R.L.s which is being a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader.  She is working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest recognition that can be earned in the organization. It recognizes high school age Girl Scouts who tackle issues that are important to them and drive lasting change in their communities by taking action to address the issue. 

Madison’s project was to tackle the issue of student food insecurity by initiating the Galway Backpack Program for any student, K-12, who needs extra food during school vacations and long weekends. Food insecurity is a serious problem across the U.S. where 13 million kids struggle with hunger and having enough to eat; most are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches during the school day but may face challenges when school is not opened on long weekends or vacations.   

Madison began by planning and organizing her program with school administrators, teachers and community agencies to help raise awareness and donations in the community for the backpacks and food. By Memorial Day Weekend 2019 she had enough money to start buying food and sent home flyers with students about the program.  She handed out 16 backpacks that weekend as well as setup a booth at the local parade that weekend to handout flyers and educate the community.     

She continued the program during the seven-week summer school session and in the fall the program was expanded to help students each week.  She was successful in getting Lowe’s to donate a shed for storing bins of extra backpacks.  The community continues to support the program through monetary and food donations. 

Madison shared that the program can be overwhelming and there are nights when she is up late putting backpacks together or buying food, but she admits that if she had it to do all over again, she would.  “There is no better feeling than knowing you are helping students in need and they know they can come to you if they need something.”