Forest Whitaker Presents Award to Young Animal Advocate

AwardsOver the course of his career he’s received an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Golden Globe, but on May 4th actor Forest Whitaker took on the role of presenter as some of America’s top youth volunteers of the year stepped on stage at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. at the 19th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Among the group of 102 compassionate kids from across the country to be honored was 13-year-old Madison Waldron of Haughton, Louisiana, who works to improve the lives of dogs in need by fostering homeless puppies, fundraising, and giving presentations to local groups on the importance of spaying and neutering pets. (State Honoree Madison is shown in the above photo at the awards presentation with National Honoree Elijah Evans, who has helped to raise awareness about child abuse and improve the lives of children in the foster care system.)

Madison’s mission of mercy began at the tender age of nine, when she paid a visit with her mother to an animal shelter. “I always thought that dogs at the shelter were just lost,” she said. “My mom explained to me that some of these dogs would never be adopted and that the shelter would eventually have to put them down.”

Doggedly determined to help shelter dogs, Madison’s first fundraising effort was an ice tea stand, which garnered $60 for treat and toys. Penny drives were next, followed by a birthday party with presents for pups rather than the birthday girl.

In 2012, Madison began hands on work as a foster parent for dogs in the care of Louisiana Baby Mommas (LABM), a non-profit organization which saves the lives of pregnant shelter dogs and puppies. So far she has fostered more than 100 puppies, with each one now in loving forever homes.

Along with tending to the needs of her foster barking babies, Madison has also helped to add funds to LABM’s kitty through her “Keep Your Paws Clean” campaign, selling personalized hand sanitizers and raising $2,400 in just two months. Over the years, Madison’s efforts have raised nearly $9,620 for homeless dogs in her community. “The homeless dog population is an epidemic,” Madison said. “I encourage people looking for a new pet to check the local shelters and rescues
first. Adopt Don’t Shop!”

For more information about Louisiana Baby Mommas:

Photo Credit: Business Wire

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About Grace Sydney

Grace Sydney is the Assistant Editor of and, covering celebrity-related rescue news. She operates the @HollywoodDogs Twitter account sharing information on celebrity fundraising for rescues and shelters.