ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Who says teenagers only think of themselves? A huge group of Albuquerque high schoolers is doing something special for local families this holiday season, and it all started with a childhood lesson two sisters learned from their mom.
When Kinesha Henderson moved into a small apartment in Albuquerque with her two little girls, she didn’t have much.
“I dropped everything, and I came down here pretty much with like three suitcases, and nothing,” Henderson explained.
She’s a single mom working to support a two and three-year-old. Henderson didn’t know until last week that her family had been “adopted” by a group of Eldorado High School students.
“It means a lot more than just like donating money,” explained Lauren Saad, a sophomore at Eldorado.
The idea started with Lauren and her little sister, Lindsey. Their mom took them to deliver gifts to a struggling family years ago. “As a mom, you always wanna teach your kids to give,” said Victoria Saad, Lauren and Lindsey’s mom.
The experience stuck with the girls. Last year, Lauren suggested adopting more families in need with her cheerleading team.
“I think it’s cool that so many people have gotten into it,” said Lauren.
The Saad girls started up their own tradition. This year they’ve recruited hundreds of classmates to help them give even more.
Eldorado was all for it. This year, students have already raised thousands of dollars in donations for families in need.
“We have very selfless students, who over 300 now are participating,” said Martin Sandoval, Eldorado High School’s Principal.
The students collect donations, and buy gifts for families they’ve never met.
“I just love seeing the looks on their face, because it really shows me how fortunate I am,” said Lindsey Saad, a 7th grader.
Last week, the group showed up at the Hendersons’ door. “I was really shocked,” recalled Henderson.
She opened her door to a porch full of high school students. The teens brought her girls clothes, food, gifts, even beds donated from Mattress Firm. The family of three had been sleeping on the floor.
“I was just really thankful,” said Henderson. She was brought to tears, touched by a group of high schoolers with big hearts.
“I just pray that they pass their exams, and you know they get scholarships, and just stay out of the negativity,” Henderson said, referring to the students who helped her family this season.
The Saad family was able to connect with Henderson and other families in need through Love INC.
This year, the Eldorado swim team, girls basketball team, cheerleading squad and DECA classes are adopting families in need. The students will deliver more gifts this weekend.
The Saad family hopes their giving project will grow each year, and hopefully spread to more schools and more families.