Featured on: The Space Coast Rocket
Brevard County, Florida – Eckerd Connects is committed to saving children from the generational cycle of poverty that results from continued lack of access to the necessary support to succeed. Part of the mission includes Success Award scholarships to students considered at-risk who have achieved greatness despite their circumstances. The goal is to bridge tangible gaps in their lives that will help them reach their dreams.
Eckerd Connects presented a Success Award to 5th grader Kayden of Fairglen Elementary School on Saturday, April 15th at the Kennedy Space Center. His family and his school principal were there to see him receive his award.
Kayden has not had an easy life. Raised by a single parent, issues like incarceration, addiction, and mental illness hit close to home – but they have not stopped him from reaching for the stars.
“I want to be an astronaut. I know that is a hard goal, but I have to at least try to work towards it,” Kayden wrote to us. “I have always looked up to the stars and wondered what is up there. I feel like there is more than we know.”
Now he will get the chance to explore the Kennedy Space Center, thanks to an Eckerd Connects Success Award, which includes Kennedy Space Center annual passes, a gas card, and food & souvenir allowances.
“The Success Award is given to a student in Eckerd Connects services that has shown not just growth but really has taken the lessons that we teach and internalized them in their life,” said Jak Christensen, Prevention Specialist with Eckerd Connects, as she presented Kayden’s award. “I have really watched this this kid grow so much over the last year and a half.”
Kayden’s teachers tell us that he is “smart and hardworking in all areas… a role model to others,” and “so confident in himself and content with his own quirks. He exudes leadership.”
Kayden’s classmates affirm his passion—they voted that he would become an astronaut. His family shared with us that they are aiming to teach him self-sufficiency and the power of positive choices. They were all part of his award presentation.
Eckerd Connects presents this award to make a difference in Kayden’s life, providing opportunities to help him achieve his goals.
About Eckerd Connects
Eckerd Connects was founded in 1968 by Jack and Ruth Eckerd with the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. The national nonprofit organization has connected nearly 316,000 people to the help they need through programs in job corps, workforce development, juvenile justice, and family & children services. For more details on Eckerd’s Success Awards program, visit www.eckerd.org/successawards.