(WEAR) — She's a girl who had a very rough start in life. Kadance Fredericksen didn't let that chart the course for her future. She used it to lay the foundation for a way to help others.
"I was pretty much abused and homeless pretty young." Abused, neglected and left homeless before she was even seven years old - that was Kadance Fredericksen's beginning, but it would not define her. She was rescued by her father and stepmother; soon to be adoptive mom. She remembers adoption day, "The morning of my adoption, my Elf on the Shelf actually gave me this teddy bear, Mr. Snuggles, as a symbol of comfort for that whole entire day."
Mr. Snuggles provided more than comfort. He was a source of courage.
When Kadance saw a notice about a school pageant about three years ago, she was summoned to the stage and that's where she found her voice and her purpose. "I felt that no child should ever have that feeling in knowing what it's like to be abused and homeless. And I wanted to try to give them as much comfort as I possibly could."
As you can see from the dozens of sashes and crowns adorning her bedroom, she became a natural in the pageant circle. Kadance used her platform to start a campaign called, Kada's Promise, "Kada's Promise is to help everybody who has been abused, homeless or neglected. We hear you, we see you and we will provide as much comfort and support as possible."
Comfort in the likeness of her very own Mr. Snuggles. She collects teddy bears to share with other hurting children. Just since October, the Baker School 6th grader has collected more than 700 of them. "We've given them to the police department. We've given them to Children in Crisis, to Operation Salvage Santa and the United Methodist Children's Home."
Imprinted with a logo designed by her seven-year-old brother, Jax, each bear carries a note from Kadance to that special child. "Your mind and your body can both be beaten, but your heart is undefeatable. From my heart to yours, please accept this bear as comfort and to know that you are never alone. Love always, Kadance."
This 12-year-old has reclaimed her joy by giving of herself to others. Another favorite is her volunteer service at the Ronald McDonald House. "I do my lemonade stand for the Ronald McDonald House, which I've raised over $14,000 in three years. I still clean there. I host parties there. I still cook for them."
Kadance hopes someone she touches will make a promise themselves. "Maybe when they get older and go past this stuff like I have, maybe they'll try to do the same thing for children who've had a past like theirs too."
Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Anderson Subaru.