Helping Children on the Street - Y Magazine
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Helping Children on the Street


Kathryn Gourley, ’00

By Bill Brady, ‘02

Kathryn Gourley, ’00, Provo, graduated in therapeutic recreation as valedictorian of her college, but, she says, “The greatest lessons I’ve learned haven’t come from the formal classroom.” Gourley believes life’s most important lessons are learned from the world around us, and she has been around the world to learn them.

When she went to Zimbabwe for a study abroad program in 1999, she discovered a need that became her passion. “Through some informal research about the people, I developed an intense love for street children,” she says.

That experience set the stage for the work that has become the center of her life.

One year later Gourley traveled to East London, South Africa. There she helped manage a center where street children received classes and two meals a day. “They are kids searching for something better,” she says. “The sad part was to watch the kids return to the streets at the end of the day.”

In summer 2001 Gourley continued her work when she went to the Philippines with UNICEF, once again working with street children. She also spent time in Cambodia working with Laubach Literacy. “I have seen children in terrible conditions, sometimes with reason to be full of hate, but love prevails,” she says.

“Each experience has left me with different feelings and attitudes,” says Gourley, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in social work at BYU. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to see other people. I now recognize we have brothers and sisters all over the world who have a need. I have a responsibility to help them.”