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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

This is Braedon McQuade

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Braedon McQuade

During the holiday season, many families try to find ways to give back to their communities. Some families also look for opportunities to help those less fortunate than themselves throughout the entire year. Rutherford High School Freshman Braedon McQuade and his family believe in spreading hope and light to those who might be struggling. This is Rutherford interviewed Braedon about what inspires him to "make good choices" and help the community.

TIR: Every year, for the last five years, you and your mom have chosen a charity to support during the holiday season. Why did you both decide to begin doing charity work?

Braedon McQuade: My family is always charitable when it comes to the holidays. My mom would always donate money to St. Jude's and raised money for cancer and suicide prevention. We would donate to many Go Fund Me's and have been involved in scouting for over 15 years. My sister Gabrielle participates in a 24-hour Twitch live stream to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. My brother Kyran donates his time and efforts to the American Legion in Rutherford which includes serving dinner to the veterans. Since I was young, my mom and I would team up every year to pick an organization. We brainstorm what perfect donation we should do.

Braedon McQuade

TIR: This year you donated forty-eight blankets to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth. Why did you choose this project?

BM: This is the second time we're donating blankets to a hospital. Two years ago, we donated fifty blankets to Palisades Medical Center. I love the blanket donation because they give those in need comfort during the holidays and warmth in the cold weather. Sometimes we collect donations from people in town or those we know but most of the time we just purchase ourselves.

TIR: What are some of the charity projects you have completed in the past?

BM: We have donated Teddy Bears to HUMC, food for the homeless, and beauty items for girls who aged out of foster care at the Covenant House in Newark. We've also worked with Frosty's Friends' Children in shelters to buy toys for children who are in shelters or displaced.

TIR: You often tell remind others and yourself to "Make Good Choices". Why is it important for you to make good choices and inspire others to do so as well?

BM: It's important for me to make good choices because me being the best me, I can change someone's bad day or allow them to be confident, make them laugh, or give them comfort and inspiration.

The world isn't the nicest to us sometimes but if I'm the light that someone needs in their moments of darkness, that's enough for me. It's important to lead by example because if someone sees me making good choices such as making a good impact on a new student, for example, those around me might follow.

TIR: You are also a Scout and part of Troop 166. What are some of the community service projects that you have participated in with the Scouts?

BM: Some of the community service projects with the Scouts I have taken part in townwide clean-ups, flag retirement burning ceremony every year at the American Legion, and Eagle Scout projects like sending care packages overseas for our service men and women. I have also helped restore the community garden, participated in many holiday events/parades, and the 9/11 memorial services.

TIR: What are your other interests and hobbies?

BM: I'm active in my High School Choir/Drama productions. Although it takes a lot of my time, I love being a part of both. I enjoy playing my guitar and keyboard as well as listening to oldies music. FYI, the Bee Gees rock! If I have any time after that, I love hanging out with my close friends and playing video games at home. Sounds like any other teenager, right?

TIR: Why do you think it is important for young people to be involved in community service projects?

BM: I believe that the sooner you get into helping your community, the bigger and longer your impact is on not just yourself but those around you. It's great for your self-esteem and it makes your community stronger when the people are involved with events and community services. It also helps with stress or emotions that you need to breeze or work off.

TIR: Anything else you would like to add?

BM: I just want to add that you only get one shot at making this your life, do not miss your chance to glow. Now go make good choices.

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