Mady Haynes, Age 13, Student; Cumberland, Kentucky:
“I play sports; basketball, softball, cheerleading. Softball is my favorite, because it's fun. I play first and I pitch. I go outside a lot. I like to hike and camp with my family, cook out and play in the creek.
I want to finish college and just follow my dream of being a surgeon, and just always staying close with my family. I want to be a surgeon because I want to help people. I don’t think I’ll always live in the mountains. I want to live in Alaska, because it’s beautiful, and it’s cold and I like the cold.
We do a lot of stuff that no one would really expect us doing. We go outdoors, and we just we hang out with each other. We get close to family and friends. Outsiders think that we're just dumb and don't really know anything. I would tell ‘em to come and see for yourself, because you don't even know these people, and you're judging them.
Being a hillbilly means that you like the mountains, and you play in the mountains, and got an accent. (laughs). That you grow up in the mountains and you do all the country stuff, like riding horses, camping, hiking, hunting, getting close to friends that are in the mountains, stuff like that.
If you're growin' up in the city, you don't even get close to people. Once you grow up, it's going to be harder for you. Say you work in, like, a building, where you need to talk to a bunch of people, or get up in front of people, you would still, like, be scared, and you wouldn't be prepared for that.
Probably my favorite story is, I started going to youth group, and we met these two people, their names are Chad and Ryan Morgan and they're my youth leaders. Ryan recently passed away, but she changed every single person's life and I just like knowing that. That was just so cool, how everybody's life was changed. She was 30-something, I think. She had sarcoma cancer. She made sure that all of us were close to God, and she showed us so many examples of staying close with your friends and family. [Her death was the saddest time I have had.]
The only grandparent that I know that is still alive, is my Grandma Brenda, my Dad's mom. She's really nice and she loves all of her grandkids a lot. The last time I was up there, we went to the falls in Corbin up there.
Getting a new sister was pretty cool, and one of my happiest moments. She was in the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club, and Mom met her there. Then, we got custody of her, and we adopted her. She's 19. She's funny, and she likes a lot of the same stuff I do. We do a lot of art together and we started doing Higher Ground together, but I got really busy. She still does it. It's a play about the mountains, and we talked about what we did in the mountains, and stuff.
We like to prank mom. On April Fool's Day, we put Saran Wrap on the toilet, (laughs) and we put pop rocks on the toilet, so when she sat down they made loud noises. We never prank dad. He don't really get scared easy, or anything like that.
My parents are really nice. My dad, he’s just always there for every one of us. They have taught me to stay close to your friends and family, and always value your education, stay in school.
I like going to Boys and Girls Club, where my mom works, and just sharing with them about life and stuff. You get to meet a bunch of new people, a bunch of people younger and older than you, and you get close with them.
I want to have two kids; a girl and a boy. We'll definitely visit here a lot, and I will tell them about all the stories and everything that happened when I was growing up.
Life is a blessing that you have, that you should cherish. God put you on earth for a reason, and something good always comes out of it.”