Gaining a sense of responsibility and dedication to the community might normally be something that comes with age, but 12-year-old Henry Hadden Creel, who attends Holy Name of Jesus School, is already making profound differences to improve the lives of others around him.

The seventh grader’s volunteer work, which ranges from rebuilding houses to taking care of younger children at church and school functions, has taught him compassion for people in various walks of life: “It’s important to be involved in your community because it gives you a chance to learn about people who are not as lucky as you,” he says. “You observe people as they go through hard times and how they keep moving forward.”

Creel, who has three brothers, is a member of the Catholic Youth Organization at Holy Name, and he has great aspirations for the future. He plans on attending Jesuit High School, and he would like to either be an attorney or a veterinarian when he grows up.

In his spare time he enjoys making movies, mainly with clay animation. He also is an avid reader who occasionally writes his own stories, and he also plays piano at Holy Name.

Creel is also very involved with school activities, such as being a member of the National Junior Beta Club at his school. He also is on the quiz bowl team and is a sacristan of Holy Name’s church. He modestly claims he’s “not that athletic,” but enjoys flag football, wrestling and tennis.

He and his brothers are also young entrepreneurs: the family owns a farm in Poplarville, Miss., and they go up there “whenever we can,” says Creel. On the farm are chickens, goats, donkeys, cows, emus, ducks, geese and even a camel.

“We sell the eggs to friends and to Emeril’s Delmonico Restaurant,” he says. “And whenever we have extra eggs, we give them to Fishes and Loaves (a charitable organization).”

Though he’s active in a variety of efforts, Creel says his most rewarding volunteer experience was when he helped rebuild houses following Hurricane Katrina. “I learned that even in the hardest of times you can pull through with the help of others,” he says. “It’s amazing to see how much courage people must have to face a challenge.”

Creel also says that his activism has taught him that “everybody has a skill and they can use the skill to the best of their abilities.”