VALRICO, Fla. — Cade McMillen is a teenager who is easy to root for.
You could say the Bloomingdale High School senior has everything going for him.
He is the captain of the varsity soccer team, senior class Vice President, a member of the Student Government Association, and a member of National Honor Society.
Cade also plays club soccer as well. In short, he's very popular.
What makes him so special is he uses his popularity and connections on campus to help others.
"Because of COVID because we have to wear masks, and it's just been very difficult to kind of have this sort of unity that's very present at Bloomingdale," says Cade. "So we started discussing it and I approached SGA with the idea. SGA is a great group of students. They're all students like me. They're involved and they were all on board with the idea."
Cade's idea? A tutoring/mentoring program for younger students that goes beyond just books.
"It's really created a friendship that definitely wouldn't have been there in the first place," says Cade. "I would say I didn't know most of these kids that were coming in. Bloomingdale is a pretty big school."
The program started out with ten tutors. It's now grown to forty teens who mentor 50 students.
Cade believes it's creating a real sense of unity on Bloomingdale High's campus during a difficult time.
"Being able to connect with people that you don't see in any of your classes or even in the hallways, it's really great," says Cade. "You never know how you're going to affect them. If your little joke puts a smile on their face and they're having a bad day. That was one of the things that I love about it. And all of the other tutors, I think they're really grateful to meet new people and impact people's lives in a different way that they really wouldn't be able to."