Craig Bender, a volunteer with the Hudson City School District, will be honored with the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) Friends of Education Award on Thursday, February 16th at the Friends of Education Dinner. CASDA presents this award to recognize the selfless contributions of individuals who dedicate themselves to serving students and the school community.

Mr. Bender has been a volunteer in the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School for more than five years. During this time he has been an active participant in the Hudson Reads program, instilling a love of reading that supports academic growth. Along with his wife, he established a writing award for 6th grade students. Craig has also hosted field trips at his equine rescue farm for 4th graders, allowing them to interact with nature and discover organic farming. Craig’s most significant impact, however, may be through the Kids Need Music program, a non-profit organization he founded to provide instruments and opportunities to Hudson’s music students. What began modestly has grown into a program that donates more than 50 instruments each year. Music teacher Leah Phillips states that “without his help, our music program would not be what it is today.” Craig Bender’s endless generosity makes him a genuine Friend of Education.