Impact Through Service

by: Madison Corzine

In Yoruba culture, one’s mission is to consistently work on your Iwa, or character, to evolve towards righteousness. My childhood library contained several character-shaping books, such as Anansi The Spider, which focused on community, knowledge, and triumph through adversity. These tales shaped my personal, academic, and professional goals to serve humanity through legislation.

As an International Baccalaureate scholar, understanding interpersonal relationships with the world was paramount. Many of my assignments revolved around global humanitarianism and making an impact. Research for a class project led me to advocate for Kenyan women and girls in period poverty. This project sparked my desire to become my sister’s keeper by helping brown and black girls, an attribute that runs deep in my DNA.

When the world stopped in 2020, I launched a podcast discussing issues concerning mental health, politics, and my academic experiences as a thirteen-year-old college student. The podcast grew exponentially as other girls saw themselves in the topics I discussed, leading the podcast to gain a global audience. This was the catalyst for creating my non-profit organization, Pragmatic Prodigies.

While moving the conversation from theory to action, I began mentoring and encouraging participation in early college courses to the young ladies at Morningside Middle School in Fort Worth, Texas. This zip code has the lowest life expectancy in Texas due to historical disenfranchisement. I learned that many girls would miss school because they did not have enough period products to last during their monthly menstrual cycle. I was deeply concerned about how the lack of access to these necessities affected them academically. I was shocked to learn that nearly 1 in 5 American girls missed school due to a lack of period protection.

To address these demoralizing and often embarrassing issues, I used pragmatism, skills, and resources to collect period products to be housed in a portable building on the school grounds. In partnership with the local community college, social service organizations, and local government officials, over 20,000 period products were collected in 60 days. This effort to raise awareness and combat period poverty has expanded to serving students in neighboring states, communities, school districts, and countries across the diaspora.

Through the immediate need to provide girls with period protection, I am dedicated to a permanent answer by eliminating the Pink tax, feminine products marketed as more expensive than male products. This summer, Pragmatic Prodigies hosted our inaugural Teen Summit, where local and state elected officials conducted workshops on increasing public awareness and creating a bill to address the Pink Tax. We aim to educate our community on the existing disparities in partnership with community organizations, The City of Fort Worth, and United Way.

Through advocacy in action, Pragmatic Prodigies’ mission is to help educate black and brown girls while building agency to address systemic inequities. As an academic, entrepreneur, and Pragmatic Prodigy, my life experiences inspire me to use my talents in the legal field as a Civil Rights attorney specializing in education reform and, ultimately, a Supreme Court Justice.

To view Madison’s YouTube video submission, please click here.

To learn more about the Spotlight on Children’s Health Scholarship, please click here.