HUDSON, Ill.– Madalyn Schmitt is using style to make a powerful impact in her community.
The Hudson native used her love of graphic design to launch Madalyn Harley Designs in 2017.
“I kept seeing all of these designs online printed on shirts and I was like, ‘Oh, I could do that.’ I just started to teach myself,” Schmitt said.
As a senior at University High School in Normal, Schmitt brings awareness to a topic that hits close to home: suicide.
“I had lost my cousin, Todd my freshman year to suicide. So that had always just been—ever since he died it was something that was really important to me to find a way to prevent suicide any way that I could,” she said.
She uses the image of a semicolon in her designs. It has become a symbol of suicide awareness, meaning a person’s story doesn’t end with a period. It continues.
“People see the semi-colon and they share their stories,” said Schmitt. “Because it starts so many conversations about mental health and it’s a really great way to communicate with people about like their mental health.”
Her work extends beyond mental health. Schmitt also makes “super discreet tampon cases,” which are anything but discreet. And they’re all for a good cause.
“When I posted it on my Instagram account, I tagged a charity called the Homeless Period Project,” she said. “They just provide period products to homeless women in the community.”
Schmitt says the non-profit was thrilled to connect with her.
“They reached out to me and they were like, ‘This is so cool,’” said Schmitt. “And I was like ‘I want to use this to help you guys and your mission.’”
For every tampon case Schmitt sells, she donates a box of feminine hygiene products to local homeless shelters. Her grandmother matches the donation. Schmitt says so far she’s been able to donate 1,540 pads and tampons. The initiative was only meant to last one month, but Schmitt says she continued it because of the community response.
Schmitt said, “We think so much about donating like blankets and clothes and food to homeless people, but you don’t think about the fact that they need things like pads and tampons.”
And she’s fueled by her faith.
“I am very focused on just spreading love and care and acceptance to everyone and showing everyone that they matter,” she said.
Schmitt will be heading to college next year. After graduation, she wants to save enough money to open a storefront and employ people with special needs and mental illnesses.
You can support Schmitt’s mission by purchasing her products online or at select craft shows.