Spreading Hope into the World with Hadley Gray

S08 | 07 – Spreading Hope into the World with Hadley Gray

Lindsay Recknell Hope, Podcast Leave a Comment

What does “taking action” mean to you?

For this 12-year-old, it means filling a need when you see it and bringing awareness to causes that you’re passionate about. With a heart for service, Hadley Gray has made it her focus to help her community through fundraisers and awareness campaigns for several different organizations, causes, and charities that she knows need support. She believes it’s important to take action and model the behavior you want to see in order to create a better tomorrow.

Tune in as Hadley and her mother, Angela, discuss how the work Hadley does spreads hope in the world, her vision for the future, and their hope that Hadley’s work will inspire others to do the same.

About Hadley Gray:

Hadley Gray is a 12-year-old that plays soccer, loves to run and skateboard, enjoys watching anime and doing sketch art. Hadley is also driven to help out her community. She is the founder of Hadley’s Hope, a soon to be non-profit that will change the world one fundraiser at a time, by bringing awareness to the people and nonprofits in need. She hopes to inspire others to know that, no matter their age, they can make a difference, too. 

In 2021, Hadley was recognized as Arizona State’s Middle Level winner for Prudential’s Spirit of Community award for her commitment towards helping the community. She was also Geneva Financial’s first ever Be a Good Human winner.

To learn more, you can find Hadley’s Hope on Instagram.


Mentioned In This Episode:



Lindsay Recknell  0:03  

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Hope Motivates Action Podcast. I’m your host Lindsay Recknell. And I have a very cool guest to introduce you to today, someone who is definitely giving me hope for the future and I truly believe she’ll inspire you too. 


Lindsay Recknell  0:17  

Hadley Gray is a 12 year old that plays soccer, loves to run and skateboard, enjoys watching anime and doing sketch art. Hadley is also driven to help out her community. She is the founder of Hadley’s Hope, as soon to be nonprofit that will change the world one fundraiser is tied. By bringing awareness to the people in nonprofits in need. She hopes to inspire others, no matter their age, and let them know that they can make a difference too. 


Lindsay Recknell  0:41  

Hadleys efforts have already been recognized publicly. First, when she was recognized as Arizona’s state middle level winner for Prudential Spirit of a community award in 2001. For her commitment towards helping the community. And then again when she was named Geneva financials first ever be a good human award. Hadley has an incredible story of service from birthday fundraisers when she was nine when she supported pet shelters as well as homeless shelters, all the way up to the big event she’s planning in 22. In supportive soldiers best friend, Hadley is definitely someone you need to know. 


Lindsay Recknell  1:16  

So without further ado, let’s get going. Hello, Hadley, and Angela. It is wonderful to have you both here. Thanks for joining me.


Angela Gray  1:26  

Thank you.


Lindsay Recknell  1:28  

I am very, very excited to have you guys on the show Hadley, you are doing incredible things. And I would love for you to share with the audience. What it is that you’re doing. How are you spreading hope into the world right now?


Hadley Gray  1:39  

Well, I am. Well, in the past, I have done different fundraisers or donation drives, to collect items for any different place that needs items collected for them, or any place that needs awareness brought to them. So for my ninth birthday, I did. Instead of getting gifts, I got donations for pet shelters and homeless shelters. And I even donated to a woman’s abuse shelter. 


Hadley Gray  2:15  

On my 11th birthday. I collected items for a foster for foster kids, because I didn’t know this before but foster kids have a lot of them have to carry around their belongings in garbage bags instead of luggage or cases or any of that. So I collected luggage, any duffel bags, anything. And also I collected clothes or hygiene items. Um, some of my recent projects are doing a donation drive to collect items for the foster youth that are aging out of the system because they get money for like food and though and staples and those sorts of things. But they don’t really have the cleaning supplies or living necessities. So I’m currently collecting those. 


Hadley Gray  3:15  

And in April of 2022 I am doing a fundraisers for soldiers best friend, which so there’s best friend is a nonprofit that gets shelter dogs and trains them to help veterans with PTSD and TBI. 


Lindsay Recknell  3:38  

Incredible, incredible. You are a busy girl. And you go to school also, I imagine. 


Hadley Gray  3:44  



Lindsay Recknell  3:45  

How do you have the time to do all of these things?


Hadley Gray  3:49  

We just fit it in, I get an idea. And mainly my mom will do most of the calls and most of the emails, but she will give the information to me and we’ll find a way to fit it into my schedule.


Lindsay Recknell  4:05  

Amazing. That is wonderful. How did you come to be this person was such a heart for service. Why is this something that you believe in so deeply?


Hadley Gray  4:18  

Well, when I was younger, my mom would help with raffles to raise money for different things. And she would also host 5k rounds for kids with cancer or cancer patients. And as I got older, I would continuously help her with those. And I was raised in a house that gave back to charities and those sorts of things. So I realized how many people were actually in need, and I decided I wanted to take action on my own.


Lindsay Recknell  4:55  

I love that. I love that. I don’t know if you know but my definition of of hope is about creating a future better than today, by taking action over the things we can control, you are the definition of hope, Hadley, you are making the future better for all of these organizations for all of these pets, for all of these humans that you’re supporting in the world by taking action over the stuff that you can do by fitting it into your schedule and giving back into the world, that’s amazing. 


Lindsay Recknell  5:24  

How do you choose the organizations that you are donating to that you’re giving back to?


Hadley Gray  5:31  

I just find an organization or a cause that needs awareness brought to it or needs something to happen towards that cause or charity. And I will start collecting for that. Because not everything in this world is perfect. So some places and causes a lot do need the that support or help. And I’m here to try to help them


Lindsay Recknell  6:11  

amazing. I really love what you said about not just organizations that need your help, but also organizations that need awareness. I think that’s something that we miss sometimes in the you know, in the conversation is there’s so many organizations, there’s so many that need help. But there’s so many more that can benefit from not just a one time kind of, you know, fundraiser, but actually getting people behind those causes for the long term. I really love that approach. 


Lindsay Recknell  6:43  

And Angela, did you have something to do with Hadleys desire to do these things? It sounds like she’s got a pretty great foundation at home.


Angela Gray  6:52  

Well, I just think it, you know, she saw what I was doing. And she felt like she needed to do it to us. I mean it. When she came to us for her ninth birthday, it was a little surprising. We weren’t aware that she was even thinking of asking for donations instead of birthday gifts. And she just she came to us with a list of items that she wanted people to donate. She was like, I want people to donate for pet shelters and homeless shelters. 


Angela Gray  7:30  

And the community just and her friends came forward and our whole front room was filled almost like floor to ceiling of donations. So yeah, she definitely saw what I did. But she took it even further.


Lindsay Recknell  7:50  

Well, and it sounds like something that is not just a one time effort. I mean, Hadley, you’re 12 years old now. Right. So you’ve been doing this for three or four years now. Do you see this nonprofit work is something you’d like to do in the future continuing on?


Hadley Gray  8:06  

I yeah, I would definitely like to continue this on.


Lindsay Recknell  8:10  

Yeah, make a career out of it. Maybe? 


Hadley Gray  8:12  



Lindsay Recknell  8:13  

yeah. Wonderful. How do you see this work these activities as bringing hope to others?


Hadley Gray  8:22  

Um, well, it’s bringing hope to others that not only that people are actually working to get awareness or items for nonprofits, but it’s also bringing hope to people in the sense that it’s showing them my generation isn’t just all involved in ourselves. A lot of us, some of us are actually thinking about the world and what we can change in the world.


Lindsay Recknell  8:56  

Yeah, absolutely. You know, and I think you’re right, that is a stereotype that happens with the younger generation, using air quotes nobody else can see. But um, you know, and it’s cool to see that you are modeling that behavior out loud. Do you have like, your friends on board with you? Do you have other support and help and people that are on your side doing this as well, besides your just your family?


Hadley Gray  9:18  

My friends and family friends will say that some ideas are like really great ideas that they want to donate that they want to be there during the fundraisers, and even strangers as well. If we posted on the Internet, there will be strangers that we haven’t seen. We don’t know. And they’ll just be like, Yeah, I’ll be there. I will donate to this cause


Lindsay Recknell  9:48  

Just you are able to rally everyone to your cause. That’s very, very cool. And I heard you were awarded some special awards for your efforts as well. Can you tell us a little bit about those,


Hadley Gray  10:00  

I got a Prudential award, it was a scholarship, but I still got an award, I was still chosen. I was the middle school for Arizona at the middle level. Um, and that was just kids that have done any work to help the community or help anyone in need. Yeah.


Lindsay Recknell  10:35  

Very cool. Very, very cool. Well, and I imagine the competition would have been stiff for that. Right, you would have, like, it just goes to show what incredible work you’re doing, even out of your peers? 


Lindsay Recknell  10:48  

What sort of a difference do you believe you are making in the lives of the people you’re helping? Do you have any? You know, have you? Have you seen the people that you’re helping? You know, have you seen some, some pets go to forever homes? Do you know what kind of impact you’re having on those people? Do you know,


Hadley Gray  11:09  

um, I have not seen a lot of the people that I have helped. And but I imagine that I help them a lot that this small percent of the people in a small percentage of the people in need, I am hoping and I can put a smile on their faces, or with the animals, I can make them happy in a forever home and make the shelter happy because they can have more stuff to give to those pets that are still staying there.


Lindsay Recknell  11:50  

Yeah. Well, and you’re right, that even just that vision of what it must be like for the people that you’re helping that feels really hopeful to me also. Do you what when I asked you what your definition of hope is, do you have an answer for that?


Hadley Gray  12:05  

Hope has many definitions, but one that I particularly particularly like, a feeling, like trusting that something will happen. Trusting that people will take action that people, um, that the world will be better?


Lindsay Recknell  12:30  

I love it. You’re right. That is that action piece again, right. That is the word that keeps coming up a lot is the trust that people will do the right thing that they will give back that they will help. And it’s continues to be proven when you keep throwing these fundraisers and people keep showing up. Right, I mean, yeah, that’s amazing. That is you’re absolutely right, that is super hopeful. Do you recognize hope in other people?


Hadley Gray  13:01  

I do, especially when they’re told that, like, something’s going to happen towards something that they believe in, or something that they know has been a problem for a while and it needs awareness brought to it. I see people go like, Yes, finally, something’s gonna happen about this, or have hope that something will happen about that, that thing that they have beliefs in?


Lindsay Recknell  13:34  

Yeah, you are, you are giving people hope. I absolutely believe that hope is contagious. And that if we have extra, we can give it to those who don’t have as much. And I really think that all of this work, you’re doing all of these efforts you’re doing you are spreading that hope far and wide. You are giving all of those people a lot of hope. It’s amazing Hadley, I just think it’s the greatest thing ever. 


Lindsay Recknell  13:57  

And, Angela, I’d love to know from you. What’s your definition of hope if somebody asks you what hope means to you.


Angela Gray  14:06  

Hope for me, definitely means that things are going to get better. We’re it’s where we work together as a community to make sure things get better than that. This isn’t the end. This isn’t where things stop that it no matter how hard something feels right now. There’s always something better tomorrow or the next day, there’s always hope. They’re the friends people will always be there. So, you know, I just I feel like hope it that’s what it means to me. It’s just like this. It’s a better tomorrow, in a way


Lindsay Recknell  14:55  

Yeah, yeah. I I’m I’m 100% with you and and Hadleys right i mean The definition of hope is very, very different for all of us, you know, and, and but the common, the common theme I hear a lot is that that future is going to be better than today, by taking action over the things we can control. And the work that you guys that you’re both doing that your families and friends are doing is what’s creating that hopeful future? 


Angela Gray  15:20  



Lindsay Recknell  15:21  

Hadley, if I was to ask you what you think that hopeful future looks like, if you had your crystal ball and could look into the future? What would you like that future to look like?


Hadley Gray  15:32  

Well, my dream future would be that every thing has enough resources or enough awareness that they can thrive that and that everybody is going to help have a better future. But what I think the future is going to look like is more and more people will start to realize how many what needs to be done, and more people will start taking action. And instead of just reading about it on the internet, and being like, Oh, that’s cool.


Lindsay Recknell  16:14  

or listening to it on a podcast? 


Hadley Gray  16:17  



Lindsay Recknell  16:19  

Oh, that’s amazing. I love it. Well, that does sound like a very hopeful future, a dream future for sure. And I think it could be a reality future as well. I mean, you are, you are leading the way through your behavior by taking action. And I really think that other people will come up behind you and walk beside you, and do some of these things help you to do some of these things and, and hopefully do some of these things on their own as well in their own communities. 


Hadley Gray  16:47  



Lindsay Recknell  16:47  

I feel like you’ve pretty much answered this already. But as we roll, sort of closer to the end of our time together, I asked the same question of every guest, and that is Hadley, what gives you hope?


Hadley Gray  17:04  

What gives me hope is that people are actually starting to take action, that people are donating to what’s already being done and thinking about how they could do something as well, or they’re starting a nonprofit, and they’re like, let’s just collect for this certain place. And multiple, if multiple people do that for different places, or different causes, or they just do it for whatever cause pops up, then I’m hopeful that a lot of problems will be solved, or a lot of causes will have more resources, more ability to do what they need to do.


Lindsay Recknell  17:54  

I’m hopeful for that, too. 


Angela Gray  17:56  

Can I answer it? 


Lindsay Recknell  17:57  

Yes, please? Yes, please do,


Angela Gray  17:59  

because I’m there watching all of what she does. So when she was involved in the Prudential awards, there were so many kids, they had one high school student and one middle school students from each state at the awards may have they broke them up into middle school, so we only get to see the younger kids. 


Angela Gray  18:26  

And I’m telling you the what brings me hope for gives me hope is these kids, the things they’re doing now, it blows my mind how aware they are, there’s mental health ones that and ones that are working on buddy benches, and one that’s getting books for all the kids that don’t have access to books. I mean, it’s amazing. 


Angela Gray  18:58  

So that’s what gives me hope is that no matter how we’re afraid of our future, like we think about it, these kids, they’re gonna, they’re gonna make sure it’s a good future. So that’s what gives me hope as a parent.


Lindsay Recknell  19:11  

Oh, well, and hearing the two of you hearing the passion Hadley’s that you have for this work, the heart for service, obviously, the place that it came from, from your mom from the rest of your family, you guys, give me hope it has been such an amazing conversation. I have loved getting to know you both much, much better. 


Lindsay Recknell  19:30  

And I want to be able to contribute in support and I know that the listeners would as well. Hadley, is there a way that we can help? How can we get in touch?


Hadley Gray  19:40  

Well, currently, I have an Instagram account, HadleysHopeFoundation and that’s where we’ll be posting information and updates about anything that we’re doing any projects that we’re doing any causes that need awareness?


Lindsay Recknell  19:57  

Amazing. We will absolutely link to that in the show notes. So that everybody can contact you there and start following along. I know we have lots of Arizona listeners and also North American listeners who will definitely be inspired by it. So thank you for joining me today. Thank you for spending your time with us and for spreading your hope into the world. It’s just been awesome.


Hadley Gray  20:18  

Thank you for having us.


Lindsay Recknell  20:20  

Take care. 


Lindsay Recknell  20:24  

I hope you enjoyed this latest episode of The Hope Motivates Action podcast. These episodes are a labor of love inspiring conversations with hopeful people make my heart happy. If you also love this episode, it would be amazing if you could go to Apple podcasts and leave a review five stars if you’re into it. It’s these reviews that encouraged Apple to promote this podcast to their network and the more people that listen, the more hope we can spread into the world. 


Lindsay Recknell  20:48  

Don’t forget to check out the show notes of this episode to find all the links to my guests books and other resources referenced in this episode. You’ll also find the link back to my website where you will find additional support and resources for you, your team and your community. 


Lindsay Recknell  21:01  

I truly believe that the future will be better than today. By taking action over the things we can control and hearing from these guests on these episodes. I know that even more hopeful future is totally possible. I’m always looking for inspirational guests so if you or anyone you know would like to be a guest on the show please reach out you can find me on the contact form of my website at expertinhope.com or by email at Lindsay@expertinhope.com. 


Lindsay Recknell  21:28  

When I was a teenager, my sisters were leaving the house to go out for the night. I always made it a point to remind them to call me if they need me. It was my way to tell them that I cared and would always be there for them. I’d love you to know the same so all of you listening out there Call me if you need me. 


Lindsay Recknell  21:42  

Again. Thank you for your love and support of this podcast my work in hope and your intentional focus on making your future better than today. After all, hope without action is just a wish


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Lindsay Recknell | Expert in Hope | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

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