In his four years of high school, Malynn was a National Honor Society officer at West Ranch, a member of the California Scholastic Federation, was the founding captain at the school for Action Team — a national youth volunteer program, and a peer leader at Our lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church in Newhall.
Malynn hates to admit it, but the motivation to get active in the community was based on his own need and not that of others’.
“I’m not going to lie. My freshman year you sign up for programs like NHS, and I was going through confirmation, you have to fill out a certain number of hours of community service,” Malynn says. “At first it was filling boxes (on volunteer forms) and making numbers. But once I established that footing in community service I fell in love. My passion is getting people to fall in love with helping people in the community.”
He did that for his entire baseball team last September.
Being the leader of the Action Team, he wanted to link a volunteer effort with his baseball team.
Burrill agreed, but he told Malynn that his hands were full and that the student/athlete had to organize it and execute it.
The idea was to bring Santa Clarita Special Olympics athletes to West Ranch High and conduct a baseball clinic/game.
Malynn had volunteered for Special Olympics in the past, but he had another connection that motivated him.
His cousin Nick has Down syndrome.
Michelle says her son has always connected well with her nephew.
“When you’re growing up and in elementary school and junior high, there are the special education classes next door. People crack jokes (about the kids in the classes). You don’t understand it till you’re connected with someone with Down syndrome (or another special need),” Malynn says. “It’s like any other characteristic. Nick is one of my favorite people to be around. I just wanted to find an event for people to connect to and have relationships with people with special needs.”
Nearly 50 Special Olympians participated in the event, necessitating the use of the adjacent softball field.
Malynn’s lasting memory was of an Olympian named Spencer who slid into home plate on the hard, packed dirt. Spencer then cracked a giant smile.
“It was fantastic,” Burrill says of the event. “Honestly I was upset with myself that I hadn’t done it earlier. It took someone like Chase to show me. I’d never done this, and I’m 44. Honestly, I’m embarrassed.”
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