Written by: Serena Li
Date: February 21, 2022
Meet #EverydayHero Kaydenze:
How do you best teach young children what volunteering is? Simple: You show them. That’s what 13-year-old Kaydenze Zamora does, even as one of the youngest volunteer leaders at Red Fox Healthy Living Society. In fact, that’s what inspired them to start volunteering in the first place at such a young age.
On Fridays, you can find Kaydenze setting up the learning space for drum group, teaching younger kids how to sing traditional aboriginal songs, and making bannock to inspire young ones to embrace and love their Indigenous culture. On Saturdays, you can find Kaydenze teaching kids how to shift their gears and ride their bicycles. Red Fox’s program manager, Suki Chhoeun sings her praises of Kaydenze, saying that their “excitement, poise, and patience for others around them are key characteristics that hold value working with vulnerable populations in many different environments.” Kaydenze is a natural role model and young leader.
Things were quite different years ago, however. Kaydenze recalls that when they joined the Active Play programs in grade one, they were shy, soft spoken, and kept to themself. The supportive, motivating leader volunteers at the program, actually brought them out of their shell.
Once a trusting link was formed, Kaydenze began trying out all the activities, from circus arts to learning about traditional Indigenous knowledge systems. They found in these activities their own sense of freedom and creativity, and began to naturally teach those younger than her what she learned.
When offered the position of Junior Leader at the age of 10, Kaydenze recalls feeling nervous. That nervousness quickly subsided however, when the older kids welcomed them with friendliness and openness. The older teens knew that the experience of volunteering was just as important as the impact, and embraced Kaydenze welcomingly even though she was so young.
Now, Kaydenze describes themself as “a leader, confident, strong, and willing to learn,” but they modestly attribute their success to those who inspired them to be a great leader.
A humble Kaydenze explains, “I was given the opportunity to lead people and be a role model to the younger kids. I looked up to my fellow leaders before I became one.”
Photo from Red Fox Healthy Living Society's website.
Meet Red Fox Healthy Living Society:
Red Fox’s role as an organization is to support youth in gaining employment training opportunities. At after school programs throughout Metro Vancouver, youth help deliver free cultural and recreation activities to children and families. Youth have
additional opportunities to grow their leadership abilities; they can attend different leadership workshops to help them gain knowledge and skills that enable them to be positive leaders and role models in their communities.
Find out more about them here: https://redfoxsociety.org/