Kaedyn Johnson, 13, Wright City Middle School, is the 2019 Positive Practices Award recipient. She is pictured here, holding the two trophies that come with the award, with her parents Keith and Krista Johnson and Denise Richards, far right, WARS Coalition leader. WARS Coalition is the Warren County group that sponsors the award. 

Kaedyn Johnson, 13, is a young person who goes “above and beyond.”

Kaedyn will be an eighth-grader at Wright City Middle school this fall and already has an impressive resume. She’s a two-time winner of the Wildcat award at her school, and recently earned the 2019 Positive Practices Award. The latter award is sponsored by the Warren County Alcohol and Drug Reduction Support (WARS) Coalition.

Denise Richards, a counselor at Black Hawk Middle School, leads the WARS Coalition. Richards said this is the second year for the Positive Practices Award, which recognizes middle students who go above and beyond in their communities. Students are nominated for the award.

Kaedyn lives by her own advice: “Try to help out where you can. Use your gifts where you can help others,” she said.

Kaedyn’s mother, Krista Johnson, said her daughter is always looking for ways to help others. Kaedyn has put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, which turned into a school and community project. Johnson said Kaedyn even sewed dresses to include in some of those shoeboxes.

She sews bags that she donates to Righteous Rides, a local ministry, for them to pack goody bags for visiting missionary children.

Sewing is a skill her grandmother taught her.

Kaedyn also helps fill food bags for Operation Backpack at school, volunteers at her church, and maintains an enviable academic and athletic career at school.

Kaedyn said she uses her time after school and on weekends to do her charitable projects.

“I did it mostly in the summer and after school,” Kaedyn said. “I would do the animal shelter on the weekends.”

Her favorite volunteer experience is time at PALS animal shelter.

“Because when I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian,” she explained.

Positive Practices awardees receive two trophies, one to take home and a traveling trophy to share with their school. The school trophy is put on display to emphasize that recognition for going above and beyond in the community is as valuable as awards for sports, music and academics.

Kaedyn said the one she took home is above her desk.

While the Johnson family has always practiced community service, Kaedyn’s mother is especially proud of Kaedyn’s interests and accomplishments.

“We’re very proud of her for wanting to give back to others,” Johnson said. “She’s a special girl.”

WARS is made up of individuals and professionals who have an interest in addressing substance use and abuse issues in Warren County through prevention, education and resources. Members include school district staff, local law enforcement, the county health department, Compass Health, local elected officials and community members, and NCADA (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse), which lends support and guidance.

The group believes recognizing the behaviors of young people who are making positive choices is just as important as raising awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and drug abuse. On that belief, they created the annual Positive Practices Award.

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