Local high school senior recognized nationally for her volunteering | Community Spirit
Olivia Larsen, a senior at St. Gregory College Preparatory School, has received a national President’s Volunteer Service Award for her work with children with special needs at Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT).
Olivia, has volunteered more than 200 hours at TROT since her freshman year.
“I love it there,” said Olivia, in a recent news release from the school. She has been riding since she was 8. “I love connecting with the students. They are so excited to be on a horse and their grins are so contagious.”
The high school senior, developed an interest in volunteering with the nonprofit agency early on. She started out as a side walker, walking alongside disabled children on horseback. She now trains other side walkers and is also a horse handler, helping to guide the horse and rider.
Olivia, who is the daughter of George and Margaret Larsen, also volunteers her time with the children of airmen stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB through TROT. She also spent part of her summer in 2012, teaching children in Kenya through a St. Gregory program.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes those who have volunteered significant amounts of their time serving their community. It is presented by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.
She is interested in becoming a lawyer and will attend Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., this fall.
Olivia said she has learned resiliency through horseback riding. “When things get difficult, you have to be patient and trust that this hard time will pass,” she said.
St. Gregory College Preparatory School is an independent school for students in grades six through twelve, with no religious affiliation.