OKLAHOMA CITY - Madeline Altom is like sunshine to a wilting flower.
She has a remarkable love and appreciation for people with special needs. Madeline's older brother suffered permanent brain damage in a car accident.
Her younger brother, Nate, has Down Syndrome.
"When he was in school, he was included in everything. When he graduated from high school, he felt alone. He told me he was like the lost boy from Peter Pan. That everybody grew up and he was left," she said.
Madeline made it her mission to help Nate, and anyone else feel included. She got together with friends and started the "Sparrow Project."
"The Sparrow Project is significant to us because we know God doesn't deem anything insignificant. Sparrows signify diligence and hard work," said Allison Richey.
Twice a week, they come together for art projects, music lessons, and even shredding documents for Moore Public Schools.
It's life changing for young adults like David, who was non verbal before the "Sparrow Project."
"It makes them feel valued and worthy. absolutely, and she's created all of this and these opportunities for these kids," said Richey.
With the help of First Fidelity Bank and everyone in place at the party, it was time to shower Madeline with gratitude.
"Madeline you've touched my life and the life of my family and I see what you do for these people. and I think you need to be recognized for this project right here. I want to present you with $400," Richey said.
Madeline says the money will be invested right back into the children.
"This isn't about me it's about our kids," she said. "If you're having a BBQ and you have a special needs kid next door, invite them. A business, hire a child,
these kids want everything that all kids want."
And the "Sparrow Project" is helping these kids soar.
They currently have about two dozen young adults who benefit from the weekly programs they offer and also just celebrated their one year anniversary.
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.