ROCHESTER, Minn. (Fox 47) -- Alden-Conger School students hosted an assembly Monday afternoon to raise awareness of a fundraiser they created in honor of one of their classmates who passed away in July.
They kicked-off a food and clothing drive at the school. hoping his story will inspire others.
Ethan Braden was a bright 17-year-old student who had his whole life ahead of him. A community was shattered on July 5, 2012 when Braden died in tragic accident. Friends and family say throughout his young life, Ethan only wanted to help others.
"He was just a people person. He loved to talk, loved people," said his friend Kelsi Pettit. "And was just a kind, caring person."
Braden attended the Alden-Conger School and was an activist in many causes, especially when it came to the protection of animals.
"He was a vegan. He would not eat any animal products because he didn't want to harm animals," his mom Sandy Clover said. "He was always grabbing all the change in my car whenever we saw people on the side of the road needing money."
Last year, Braden traveled to Eugene, Oregon to join a cause to protect the Cascade mountain range. It was there, he was swimming at a local lake with friends and died during a tragic diving accident.
After Braden's death, friends and family put together a student-led organization called "The Inspiration of Ethan Braden."
"We came up with the idea to raise awareness for homelessness, which is something he was passionate about," Clover said.
A food and clothing drive is being held in Ethan Braden's honor. It runs until the end of May. All donations will go to "The Reach" homeless youth drop-in center in Mankato.
At Monday's assembly, friends and family took time to say kind words about the boy they knew who loved helping others. Ethan's mom handed out CD's of his favorite songs to students after the event.
Non-perishable food items, clothing and backpacks are being collected at the Alden-Conger School throughout the month of May.
Donations will also be collected at a free movie screening on May 10th at Christ Episcopal Church in Albert Lea at 7 p.m