Waialua Teen Is Honored In D.C. For His Charitable Work

Candonio Agusen (center) and Waialua’s Jackson Button (right) meet with New York Giants QB Eli Manning. Photo from NASSP

This time it was Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning’s chance to hand out the hardware.

Waialua’s Jackson Button, 13, was among 102 youths who were honored at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for their community service and commitment to helping others.

Button was joined by Hawaii’s other representative, Kealakehe High junior Candonio Agusen. Both earned the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and $1,000.

“These young people have demonstrated remarkable leadership, selflessness and compassion, and they set a fine example for thousands of other students across the U.S. who want to make a difference,” stated Ken Griffith, president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP and Prudential Financial sponsored the awards.

Button co-founded a nonprofit that raised almost $100,000 to support a variety of projects that benefit children in Africa, Mexico and the United States.

“We soon realized there are too many kids around the world who needed basic things like food, water and medicine,” he said.

Button and his sisters sold baked goods, organic vegetables, set up lemonade stands, hosted garage sales and sought donations that provided scholarships to children who lost a parent to cancer, a solar heater for a Mexican orphanage, school supplies to under-privileged kids in Hawaii and a van to take HIV/AIDS orphans in Uganda to medical appointments – among other donations.

“We want to help children all over the world have a better life,” he said simply.

That’s not all. Impacted by his mother’s battle with breast cancer, the Hawaii Technology Academy eighth-grader and his family wrote, published and sold a cookbook to raise money to fight the deadly disease.