HEARTLAND, Texas — Two young Heartland siblings have overcome medical diagnosis to achieve high aspirations all the while giving back to their community through service.

"Both children have overcome their medical diagnosis; proving that a diagnosis is just that... a diagnosis; not a definition," their mother, Jacqueline Bracey tells

16-year-old Taylor Bracey was diagnosed with Cleido Cranial Dysplasia and her brother, 13-year-old Christopher Bracey, with autism.

The elder Bracey sibling was recently recognized as one of the 100 High School Students America Needs to Know About, a prestigious award given through the Workforce Career Readiness program. Taylor, who is also a Youth Leader (YL) for the Partners Resource Network, PATH Project, was honored and appointed as a YL Ambassador and hosted her first Youth Leadership Class earlier this month with plans to co-host a three-day seminar in July for youth ages 14 to 23 — the program, among other things, helps empower children and young adults with disabilities through educational programs, including many in our local educational region and district.

Both Taylor and Christopher were promoted to the rank of Young Marine Lance Corporal in the local Trinity Valley Young Marines program — Taylor becoming the first African American female to reach this status with the Trinity Valley Young Marines.

Taylor was also enrolled in the Radio Camp at Mesquite Radio KEOM 88.5 FM where she was recognized and spotlighted on air.

While achieving these many high aspirations, the siblings found time to give back to their communities through a number of programs and initiatives.

As a homeschooling project several years ago, both siblings chose to start a Toys for Tots toy drive through the Trinity Valley Young Marines and partnered with several local businesses, including, among others, Huddle House and Pristine Car Wash in Forney. Their service in the community also includes feeding the homeless, volunteering locally with military organizations at multiple events, with Soldiers Angels Letter Writing Campaigns, and fundraisers for the Crandall Police Department.

Jacqueline, alongside her husband, C. Anthony, says the Bracey siblings aren't done yet — they have many more dreams and goals ahead of them.

Is your Kaufman County-area child/student doing good in our community, we'd love to share their story. Send us an email at More details below: