RACINE — Because of her commitment to helping others, 13-year-old Racinian Magdelyn Dreifuerst was in the spotlight during a Dec. 3 Packers game.

Dreifuerst was named a “Kick-Off Kid” as part of Shopko’s “Kids Making a Difference” program, which honors outstanding leaders during the NFL season. Shopko selected Dreifuerst because of her efforts to collect gifts for the residents at the Bethany Apartments in Racine, an organization which provides transitional housing for women and children who’ve suffered domestic abuse.

“It’s a great cause,” Dreifuerst said. “I know they help a ton of women and children.”

Dreifuerst received four tickets to the Dec. 3 Packers game, where she was honored during pregame festivities. She was pictured on the Tundra Vision screen and had her story and photo featured on the back cover of the Packers game day program and on Shopko.com. But her main duty at the game was running onto the field to pick up the tee after the initial kickoff.

Last year, when her class at Racine Montessori School discussed charities, Dreifuerst was inspired to help those at Bethany Apartments. She soon started a drive to collect gifts for the children there. The project worked like a typical giving tree; families and teachers could take a tag with a child’s name on it from a tree at the school and buy gifts for that child.

The tree was such a success last year, with each child receiving five to 10 gifts, that Dreifuerst decided to do it again this year not only for the children living at the apartments, but for the adults as well.

“The activity was a huge success due to Maggie’s conscientious and tireless work,” said Rita Lewis, school administrator at Racine Montessori School, in a statement on the school website.

Dreifuerst said she appreciated the efforts of everyone who donated to the cause.

“I felt really great,” she said of the outcome of the drive.

Because any child in Wisconsin between the ages of 6-12 can apply for the Making a Difference program, Dreifuerst was shocked to learn that she had been chosen. She said she was happy that the experience created exposure for the needs of those at Bethany Apartments.

Dreifuerst said she felt appreciative and excited on game day.

“It almost felt unreal,” she said.

Dreifuerst, her mom and dad, her two brothers and one of her brother’s friends attended the game together. It was her first Packers game.

In addition to organizing and seeing the drive through two years in a row, this year Dreifuerst also applied for and received a $1,000 grant from the United Way of Racine County go toward the project.

“I am so proud of what a giving person she is,” said Dreifuerst’s mother, Melissa Dreifuerst. “She is always helping others. I am so proud that this gift drive was her idea and she saw the process through from beginning to end.”

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Reporter

Caitlin Sievers covers cops, crime and the west-end communities. She's a lover of cats, dance and Harry Potter. Before moving to the Racine area she worked at small papers in Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

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