When a child is struggling to overcome a life-threatening illness, he or she is often denied the normalcies that many children experience. The USAFA’s philanthropic program, Cadet for a Day, doesn’t just allow these children to feel normal, but aims to make them feel extraordinary. Recently, Veterans United Foundation had the pleasure of gifting $5,000 to the program and sneaking a peek at the two most recent “cadets” experiencing the opportunity of a lifetime.
Cadet for a Day’s mission is to honor and inspire youth and families in the Colorado community who struggle to overcome significant physical challenges. This program partners with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado, functions completely as a cadet-run program, and has hosted over 30 Cadets for a Day and their families. Since 2001, cadets at USAFA have served thousands of hours to ensure that this program reaches remarkable children who dream to one day become cadets at USAFA, serve in the military, or fly. Cadet for a Day’s mission turns these dreams into reality!
A One-Of-A-Kind Program
What is so special about being a Cadet for a Day? Over the course of three days, a child and family take part in the best USAFA has to offer. Upon their arrival, children are decked out in a customized uniform complete with a flight suit, boots, name tag, back pack, and flight cap. They have the opportunity to tour flight line operations, lead the Cadet Wing of 4,500 cadets at noon-meal formation, and to be a VIP member of a sponsor squadron. Cadet for a Day goes above and beyond to tailor the schedule to the child’s special interests and hobbies as well. Children can attend USAFA sporting events, participate in chemistry “magic” shows, and fly over USAFA in a helicopter. In addition to these awesome experiences, the sponsor squadron hosts a party to celebrate the child and family. The Cadets for a Day and their families are truly welcomed by USAFA, as the experience is designed to honor and encourage the child fighting the illness and their family, making this program truly one-of-a-kind.
Spreading Our Impact
This program is as much of a blessing for the cadets who are running the show as it is for the children and their families. As the co-officer of this program Captain Lindsey Kirchhoff explains, “The children and families we meet are true heroes as they meet challenges with courage and perseverance. It’s an inspiration for us to witness the resilience and optimism of our Cadets for a Day and their families.”
“The Veterans United Foundation’s recent donation has equipped Cadet for a Day to continue its mission on behalf of our Cadets for a Day and their families,” Captain Lindsey Kirchhoff said. “We are so grateful for VUF’s involvement in C4aD!”