Taylor Waters, a member of the American Red Cross National Youth Council, recently received a TeenNick HALO Award from the Nickelodeon television channel for her work with the Red Cross. Waters, 19, was selected by Nickelodeon as one of four extraordinary young people helping their communities in extraordinary ways.
Water’s first interaction with the Red Cross came in January 2010, after her grandmother’s home burned down. Witnessing the amazing assistance her local chapter provided to her grandmother, Waters was inspired to do the same for others. She soon began fundraising for disaster relief—eventually raising $30,000 and developing a program for high school students to support the Red Cross mission.
Nickelodeon pulled off a great surprise when Waters was in the middle of a meeting for the Red Cross Club at East Carolina University in North Carolina. While she was leading a preparedness scavenger hunt, actor and TeenNick chairman, Nick Cannon, entered the room and exclaimed, “I found a First Aid Kit!”
“I was beyond shocked, surprised, happy, excited and a little confused,” she explained.
Waters quickly discovered that she was a 2012 HALO Awards Honoree when Cannon presented her with a $10,000 donation to her local chapter, and plane tickets to meet actor Josh Duhamel, her surprise celebrity partner. Duhamel is a passionate Red Cross advocate, volunteer and member of the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet.
“He is an incredible person and has done amazing work with the American Red Cross,” Waters said. “We talked about our passion for the organization, and then I got to attend a photo shoot for his new movie Safe Haven. It was one of the best days of my life!”
In addition to meeting Cannon and Duhamel, Waters attended the HALO Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, which aired on Nickelodeon November 19.
“I am so incredibly thankful for this entire experience, not only for me but for the Red Cross,” Waters said. “I truly enjoy speaking to children and teens across the country to show them that they can make a difference too!”
“Young people sometimes think that they can’t do anything during disasters,” she continued, “but they can do so much. Before a disaster, they can help family and friends get prepared—do preparedness activities, share preparedness materials and lead by example. During a disaster, youth can volunteer in a shelter, help other children and their families and fundraise—especially if the disaster is far from home. Never underestimate what youth can do.”