Graz’n Acres to benefit from 11-year-old’s charity

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Madelyn Cosby, 11, stands with an array of artwork that she will be donating to benefit Graz’n Acres on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sedley Baptist Church. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Madelyn Cosby, 11, stands with an array of artwork that she will be donating to benefit Graz’n Acres on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sedley Baptist Church. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Last year, a 10-year-old Riverdale Elementary student had trouble falling asleep on the night of Oct. 5.

But that’s only because she had so many positive thoughts going through her head after handing Nikki Outlaw a check for more than $1,000. She put together a silent auction and bake sale for the family friend because her home had been broken into while she was being treated for cancer.

“Of course I was really tired, but just sitting there and knowing that I had done that, and seeing the expression on her face when I handed her that check, I can’t even describe how it made me feel,” said now 11-year-old Southampton Middle School student Madelyn Cosby. “It made me feel so good inside that all of that time I had spend doing this paid off. She really needed it. Now she is living in a reliable house that is not in a bad part of town.”

This year, Madelyn is back at, and this time she wants to help out Graz’n Acres, the local therapeutic horse riding center. The event will be on Saturday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sedley Baptist Church, 17494 Johnsons Mill Road.

The event will feature Cosby’s silent auction, other items donated from the community, a bake sale and barbecue plates.

“We think we are going to get more people because it doesn’t conflict with any other festival,” she said. Last year her event was on the same day as the Franklin Fall Festival. “We’re having it at lunch time because we are having barbecue. Barbecue is pretty good.”

Madelyn and her mom, Kasey, are also hoping to get some other young artists to donate artwork to the silent auction.

“We are going to have a children’s area for art,” she said, adding that children could donate sketches, paintings, clay models or whatever they can dream up. “I think it is pretty good because we are letting people express themselves through art, which is how this all got started for me.”

They ended up choosing Graz’n Acres because it is local and they liked the cause.

“I’ve liked getting to know Cyndi from Graz’n Acres because she is really nice,” Madelyn said. “She told me the whole story, that they do therapeutic riding for kids with disabilities, and they also do it for the kids who get suspended from school. I like that their work is volunteer.”

Cyndi Raiford, director of Graz’n Acres, said Madelyn is a remarkable person.

“She came to us and said she wanted to do this based on what she heard about us,” she said. “And she has been the one doing the leg work to put it together. Our board will be there to support her, but she’s handled it. How many 11-year-olds think to do this type of thing?

“I think it is wonderful.”

Madelyn said she does like horses, at least, for the most part.

“She won’t be signing up for horse camp anytime soon,” Kasey said.

“I went once for English riding,” Madelyn added. “It is kind of a side thing. If I know how to ride horses, I won’t like freak out around them.”

But the gifted art student does like painting and learning new techniques. In her middle school art class, she’s excited that they get to visit Rawls Museum Arts. Madelyn said she’s enjoyed being in the class.

“My favorite part so far this year has been trying new techniques,” she said. “Recently we have been learning about patterns, balance and all of that stuff, which is helping me do more when I paint.”

Painting has been a part of her life since she was in second grade, and it is likely to be something that she does forever.

“I am not that athletic,” she said. “I am pretty good at dance, but that is not really my passion. Art is something I can just sit down whenever I am bored, and just do it. I can just draw.”

It’s not always easy, though, but family and friends help keep give her perspective.

“I know that sometimes, I am like, ‘Oh my gosh, I am just terrible at art. I cannot do this anymore,’” Madelyn said. “But then mom is like, ‘No, you are good — you are doing really good for an 11-year-old.’”

“She is her own worst critic, but that’s how we all are,” Kasey added with a laugh. “You tell her, ‘You are doing a great job,’ and she’ll say, ‘No I’m not.’”

Madelyn said that she’s also excited about the bake sale.

“Bake sales are kind of easy and the items are at a set price,” she said. “And I really liked it last year. This year, I am going to be making a checkerboard cake.”

All of the money received will go straight to Graz’n Acres, Madelyn said.

“Not a single penny will go to anybody else,” she said. “This is a good thing to donate to. Even if you can’t stay for long or can’t buy anything, it still means a lot to us. And we’ll have little boxes of appreciation for everyone, so at least they will know that it does mean a lot to us for them to actually take some time out of their day and come by and support us.”

To donate items for the silent auction, or another portion of the event, call Kasey Cosby at 647-8776 or email her at

“I hope you come out,” Raiford said. “You are not only supporting the center and our 80 students with disabilities, but you are also supporting a young lady who is really trying to do some good in the community.”