IECN Staff Writer Caden Henderson was recently awarded the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) – Inland Empire Chapter, award for Youth Volunteer of the Year. According to the National Philanthropy Day nomination form, the award recognizes “service by an outstanding youth leader under the age of 21, youth group, or youth-generated project that has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering and/or leadership”.
Outside of school, 14-year-old Redlands High School student Caden keeps himself busy by writing an aptly named column (Caden’s Corner) for the IECN Newspaper group, and interviewing celebrities and athletes for his very own YouTube channel. When he graduates from high school he hopes to attend USC or the University of Redlands to study sports broadcasting and/or sports journalism. In school, he’s on the freshman basketball team, but says he’s got a soft spot for baseball.
“My grandpa, Bob Sheehan, was a baseball coach, and my mom and dad (Jill and Joe Henderson) met while working for the 66’ers baseball team, so I guess that’s why,” Caden shared.
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) nominated Caden for the Youth Volunteer of the Year award because of his volunteer services for the pediatric patients. A few years back, Caden was hospitalized at LLUCH for about four days, and that’s when he decided to do something for the children in the medical wards. He has worked with the Child Life department, playing games and engaging in activities with the children, and he explains some of the procedures to the patients. He raised money to provide the children’s unit with Wii gaming equipment. Three years ago, Caden began to collect teddy bears for each patient to be gifted during the holiday season.
2019 is the third year for Caden’s Teddy Bears for Kids. The effort will begin November 29th and bears will be collected through December 19th. Various businesses in Redlands and Highland are collection/drop-off points. This year, Caden is on track to hit 1,000 bears for donation to the children.
Asked what he would advise someone who wanted to start doing something for others, Caden answered, “Well, I would say, start, and then keep going. Do what helps others, because something as small as a teddy bear will affect someone in a positive way.”
IECN is proud of this young man and his spirit of caring for others. We send congratulations to Caden as the recipient of the prestigious AFP Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. We look forward to seeing what’s in the future for this young man!