UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kylie Kuhns, a senior studying labor and employment relations, has dedicated her life to serving others through THON, Kelsey’s Dream, and even in the White House.
“Throughout my time at Penn State, I have used service as the backbone to many of the things I have done,” said Kuhns. “Founding Kelsey’s Dream, serving as a THON captain, and even interning for the first lady of the United States have exposed me to a variety of things to better understand the world around me.”
Kuhns believes that becoming a Nittany Lion has been one of her greatest accomplishments. Through the continual opportunities that Penn State has provided to her, she has found people to change her perspective on life and push her to become a better person every day.
“I am forever grateful to Penn State for the lifelong friends and lessons that I will walk away with at the end of my time,” Kuhns said.
Being a Nittany Lion has enabled Kuhns to pursue her passion of service. At just 11 years old, Kuhns founded a nonprofit called Kelsey’s Dream in memory of her older sister, who passed away from cancer when they were children. With the mission to assist children with cancer, Kuhns wishes to make life a little brighter for children with the disease and children in need through community involvement.
Through Kelsey’s Dream, Kuhns has commissioned multiple projects that have brought smiles to children that are fighting cancer.
“Our largest project is Hopper the Cancer Crusher,” Kuhns said. “This is a play therapy toy that we provide to children all over the country after their diagnosis. Actually, Hopper can be found in hospitals in 45 different states, and to date Kelsey’s Dream has provided over 30,000 play therapy toys to children with cancer.”
In addition to Hopper the Cancer Crusher, the nonprofit also has created programs to bring comfort to patients and their families.
“Our blanket program has ensured campers attending a cancer camp are warm during the night, and our snack pack program has made sure children do not go hungry during treatment,” Kuhns said.
Most of all, Kuhns believes that through founding this organization, she has learned how to be an effective leader in her community, realizing the importance of volunteering and helping others.
“While navigating the ups, downs and learning experiences along the way, I learned a lot about myself and have met some pretty incredible people,” Kuhns said. “It is always rewarding to hear positive feedback from a family that may have just received Hopper or benefited from one of our programs. It is a nice reminder of why I do what I do.”
Service has become so ingrained into Kuhns’ personality that when she arrived at Penn State she knew getting involved with THON would be a perfect pair with her experience in founding Kelsey’s Dream. As a third-year THON captain, Kuhns has stayed busy and even had the opportunity to dance for the cause during her junior year.