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Towson U senior helps Baltimore City youngsters “jump for joy”

TU senior Kristen Bork reaches jump rope at Baltimore's Jump for Joy.

TU senior Kristen Bork teaches jump rope at Baltimore’s Jump for Joy.

Towson Honors College senior Kristen Bork first picked up a jump rope when she was seven years old. Like most second-graders, she wanted to have fun with her friends. But after those friends stopped skipping rope, Bork kept right on jumping.

Fifteen years later, Bork’s passion has paid off. She earned this year’s USA Jump Rope Canady Educational Fund scholarship. The $1,000 award honors exceptional members of the jump roping community who exhibit strong leadership qualities and maintain high moral and ethical standards of behavior.

“Jump rope has affected my life in almost every way possible,” Bork said. “It’s taught me a lot about the person that I want to become in terms of character.”

Recently, Bork started sharing her love of jump rope through Jump for Joy, a program that provides coaching and jump roping supplies to children in Baltimore City. Bork has worked with the program since it began last year and has watched it grow from just a few kids to more than 20.

Bork says the kids have begun holding performances throughout Baltimore City, and she hopes the program will grow to also offer after-school programs.

“[The kids are] really interested in the competition aspect of jump rope and want to travel places, compete and show everybody why they’re excited about jump rope,” Bork said. “I love seeing how much they’ve learned and seeing the passion that they’ve developed for it.”

Bork coaches Jump for Joy every Saturday morning, in addition to coaching a competitive team at Kangaroo Kids in Howard County during the week. Through coaching, Bork has discovered a lot about herself as well, including a passion for teaching.

“As I’ve grown through jump rope, it’s been less about me and more what I can do for other people, which is what led me to my major: elementary and special education,” Bork noted. “Instead of jump rope being about myself, it showed me how I can help and serve others with it.”

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