Kristen Hord wanted just one thing for her 10th birthday: to serve alongside her family at the St. Edward High School soup kitchen.
“I was so excited because my parents told me I had to wait until I was 10 to go,” says Hord, now 17. She’d watched for years as her grandmother, parents, siblings, cousins and other relatives met monthly on the food line. “It was a family thing,” she says.
And then it was her chance.
“I’ve always loved being around people and giving a helping hand,” she says.
The kind of excitement she felt about volunteering as a child has only multiplied in Hord’s teen years. She’s spent five years as one of the most dedicated volunteers for Westlake-based Youth Challenge, which pairs able-bodied teens with kids with physical disabilities for adaptive sports such as bowling, golfing and ice hockey.
A junior at St. Joseph’s Academy and resident of West Park, Hord enjoyed athletics herself. “But in high school I had to choose between sports and volunteering,” she says.
Now she plans to pursue a career as an intervention specialist working with special-needs kids in the schools.
“I’m so glad I stuck with this,” Hord says, “because it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding.”