(Franklin) – On Monday, Heard County Middle School had the pleasure of hearing from a special guest speaker, Mr. Aidan Hornaday, founder of Aidan Cares, a non-profit with the mission of teaching a generation to give.
“We were thrilled that Aidan took time out of his busy schedule to come and speak to our students at HCMS about the importance of giving back to our community. He is a true leader, and an inspiration to us all,” stated Laura Farmer, 6th grade teacher at HCMS.
Aidan spoke on many different issues concerning the importance of giving back. He wants all young people to make a difference for their generation, and to be change makers. “Giving and compassion need to be as much a part of your life as breathing. Everyone needs to find their passion in giving whether it is helping people, animals, or the environment,” said Aidan.
Aidan’s own story began, when as an 8-year-old boy, he sat bored in a restaurant. He put his hat down on the table, and decided to take his brother’s harmonica.
Aidan looked at the harmonica for a moment, and then began to play. Before he knew it, patrons in the restaurant were leaving him tips in his hat. By the end of the night, he collected $80.
That seemed like a small fortune to Aidan, as it would to most 8 year old boys, but he decided not to spend the money on himself. Aidan felt he had all that he needed, so he decided to give the money to a charity that helped orphaned children in Africa.
“I thought about all the toys that I could get with $80, and I had it all planned out, but then I thought of all my blessings. I have a warm house to live in, food, and clothing. I knew that I should give the money to someone who really needed it, “explained Aidan at the assembly.
The 6th graders at HCMS also have big hearts for giving, and they couldn’t wait to tell Aidan the project they have been working on over the past several weeks. During the assembly, two 6th graders, Kiya Ramos and Betty Covington discussed the 6th grade service project the students started in September.
“We decided as a class that reading is very important, and we wanted other young people to experience the joy of reading a book,“ stated Betty.
“Yes, our goal was 150 books by November, but we already have 225 books, and we still aren’t finished. We want to get these books out into the community to help others learn to read,” stated Kiya.
Aidan closed the event by playing a few blues tunes written by Muddy Waters on his harmonica. The students looked on with amazement, and many are ready to follow in his musical footsteps. “I just loved hearing him play. He is truly an inspiration to me, “exclaimed Nikki Jones, 6th grader at HCMS.
Aidan Hornaday continues to travel across the country, speaking to groups and playing his harmonica in an effort to raise awareness about the need to give back. Aidan has now raised more than $70,000 for his personal charity, and millions of dollars in partnerships with other nonprofits such as Jump in to Give, SERV YOUth, and Giving 101.
Soon, Aidan will be traveling to Dallas for the big Sky Ball celebration of our military heroes. Aidan will be playing his harmonica to say thank you to those that offer the ultimate sacrifice so we all can make the most of our amazing freedom. (Photos courtesy of Khris Martin)
Aidan’s tips for giving
Find your passion in giving- whether it’s people, animals or the earth. Give to what matters most to you. Pass it on.
Run toward need, not away from it! Define needs and go and meet them. Include others: it’s an opportunity, not an inconvenience.
Think of the world as a giant mosaic; it will never be complete without you. No matter how small an act of giving—BAM—you become a difference maker.
No excuses. Start by example, giving to others, pass it on.
Hang with ‘givers’. You are defined by those you run with, and remember, selfishness is a drag.
Please visit Aidan’s website at aidancares.com or like him on Facebook to learn more.