LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – In 2014, volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.4 percent), according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The volunteer efforts of Caden Jones, 21 of Lafayette proves that there is truth to not forgetting where you come from.
“I got to experience going to different universities and different colleges and all kinds of different things that just inspired me to the point that I knew I wanted to go to college; at this point and time,” says Jones.
It’s been a long and bumpy road for Jones. He says at the age of 12-years-old he lost his mother to cancer. “To make a long story short. I watched for two hours and the rest is history. I quit my martial arts. There are a lot of things that progressed in life and I kept quitting things,” adds Jones.
“They’re gone but I feel like the spirit and what they put into you is still there. Elevate as if they are still alive but within yourself,” says Jones. Acadiana High School is where Caden joined the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (Gear UP).
Currently, Caden attends the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He’s an engineering major and serves as a Gear Up alumni mentor. Caden is determined to help students realize that even in difficult times there’s opportunity. “If you never quit at what you do, then there are so many great things that can happen for you,” says Jones.
“There’s always good and always bad. When the bad times came, such as anything in my life, I knew a week later or the next day I could wake up and it could possibly be good,” notes Jones. Jones advises young people to ask questions — and be willing to take advice.
“There are people you can see in random households, people you can see in college and high school. You can walk up to them and bring up a question and they’ll help you. Just start with one person and talk to them and it will spread too many people who will be motivating you and connecting you. Some of us, like me, I will be looking for you guys to give help too,” explains Jones.
For more information on Gear Up, you can log onto their website.