This year the Wilton Family YMCA marks the 20th anniversary of the Melissa McFadden Scholarship. Each year the Riverbrook Regional YMCA, in collaboration with Jack and Deborah McFadden, recognizes Wilton High School graduating seniors as a way of celebrating the life and achievements of the McFaddens’ daughter, Melissa. The scholarship is presented to individuals that have demonstrated compassion, dedication, and a desire to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and physical challenges in the town of Wilton. Many of the past recipients have gone on to pursue careers in education or other areas supporting people with special needs.
This year, Maden Herve and Nicole Saxon joined the list of honored recipients. According to Wilton YMCA officials, both Herve and Saxon were not only actively involved in organizations and activities supporting young people with disabilities, but they have also had close relationships and were devotedly engaged with friends or relatives with similar challenges.
Throughout their lives, both Herve and Saxon have devoted many hours to supporting and enhancing lives through volunteering and working at the Wilton Family YMCA and at the Wilton High School. Herve has coached the Wilton Family YMCA’s Special Olympic Track and Field team, as well as coordinated the Y’s Basketball Outreach Program (BOP) and its Friends and Buddies programs throughout the school year. Saxon has been spending the summers at Wilton Family YMCA Camp Gordyland and working for the YMCA’s afterschool program as a paraprofessional. This fall Herve will be attending Cornell University and Saxon will be attending Bryant University in the Class of 2024.
“The review committee was so moved by these amazing students,” said Robert McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA. “We are thrilled to be able to award Maden and Nicole with these scholarships. They are leaders in our community serving those with special needs and creating an inclusive community so everyone can have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. We know these students will continue to make a difference in their college communities and beyond.”