Making a difference one birthday at a time

Mackenzie (Mack) Williams on his 13th birthday this year.

Meet Mackenzie (Mack) Williams, an inspiring Arana Hills local and grade seven student at Mt Maria College. 

Like most other teenagers, each year he eagerly anticipates his birthday and having a celebration. However, unlike most other children his age who may ask for the latest video game or gadget, for his 13th birthday, Mack asked friends and family to make a donation to, The Smith Family, an Australian children’s charity that helps disadvantaged children and their families, using education as a key tool. Through his selfless initiative and the generosity of friends, family and neighbours, Mack gifted The Smith Family $1,257.

This isn’t the first birthday Mack has selflessly asked friends for donations instead of presents. Last year, for his 12th birthday, this generous young lad gifted $980.50 to Variety – The Children’s Charity, that helps children who live and grow up with a serious illness, disability or disadvantage. 

Mack with his friends at his 13th birthday celebration

So what made this teenager choose to follow this path? After discovering a box of past gifts under his bed and realising he had only played with them once (or not at all), he found himself pondering how he can make a difference and help disadvantaged children instead of receiving more materialistic items that he did not use. Hence the concept of asking friends and family to make a contribution to charity, instead of receiving gifts. 

Mack isn’t only recognised by his peers and members of his tight knit community. In June this year, the unselfish teenager fittingly received a very special award at school – The Charism Award, given to students who enhance everyday life at the College, through positivity, love of work and who give to others without the expectation of recognition or rewards.  

It seems everyone that Mack touches in life is inspired by him. On a recent holiday to Singapore, he stayed at a plush hotel. His mother Leslie told the hotel of his efforts and they donated $100USD to Unicef on his behalf. Furthermore, after finishing our interview with Mack, our eight year old helper walked away thinking to himself of what charity he could donate to on his next birthday!

Proud parents, Carl and Leslie are astounded by his efforts.

‘Mack has always been a generous child, even though he is very outgoing and social, he is also very just.  Always wanting fairness for everyone,’ said Leslie Williams, Mack’s mum.

‘You need to want to do it, it shouldn’t be forced. It’s just getting that moment of inspiration,’ said Mack.

Mack already has plans for next year’s Charity!

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