STORIES
Family Heroes

Kristen Sarrapede

by Megan

"It was then that she realized that helping children who have to deal with emotional issues was what she was meant to do."

Born July 8th, 1977, my cousin, Kristen Sarrapede, was brought into the world by her loving parents, Connie and Bobby, and was soon joined by her younger brother, Kyle. Right from the start everyone knew there was something special about Kristen, something very unique; they knew she’d be someone to make a difference in the world, and have a huge impact on many peoples lives.

After graduating Bay Shore High School in 1995, she attended Fordum University for four years where she majored in Social Work. After getting her degree Kristen worked for Children Services in Queens where she investigated child abuse and neglect for a year. It was then that she realized that helping children who have to deal with emotional issues was what she was meant to do. Kristen then attended SUNY Stony Brooke and got her master's in Social Work. During that time she worked as a therapist in a Mental Health Clinic, a social worker for middle and elementary schoools, and on a fundraising board for Alzheimer's disease. Currently she works at Madonna Heights aiding teenage girls going through many issues and helping them to the best of her ability.

On November 3, 2000 a huge tragedy hit our family: my Uncle Jimmy, passed away afer a long and hard battle of cancer. My entire family was completely devastated as he was the most generous and loving person I have ever met in my entire life, and had the strongest heart. This is what Kristen considers to be the biggest impact on her life; a huge pause where she stopped and saw that changes could be made for the better and how important life really is.

That was about the time I started looking up to Kristen. Sitting next to her at the funeral knowing I had someone who felt the same, since we were both his goddaughters, was a huge comfort to me, since I was young. From then on I knew Kristen wouldn't just be another cousin, she was special, she was my best friend, practically like a sister since I don't have one, and I'm thankful for having such a great inspiration in my life. In turn, Kristen believes I have the potential of making a difference in this world, and that I am a very inspiring person. It's one of the greatest things anybody has ever told me.

Helen McCullagh, my grandmother, is Kristen's biggest inspiration. She says that her strength and good will is so wonderful, and the fact that she's so self-dependant is an inspiration to all, which I also agree with. Kyle Sarrapede, Kristen's younger brother, holds a huge importance in her life. Kyle, 21, is not only her brother, but also her best friend. He is always there for her no matter what the problem and finds a way to put a huge smile on her face, no matter how upset she is. Kyle is just a huge ball of engery and his laughter is so contagious no matter how down you're feeling he'll get you to laugh the hardest you've ever laughed.

Kirsten believes she's very blessed to have such wonderful family members that inspire her everyday. She also says my family holds a special place in her heart. For her, our door is always open and she's welcome anytime. We all love her so much, it's almost like we constantly need her here, sometimes even begging her to move in with us. "To me family is the most important thing in my life, and [your] family has shown me many things throughout my life, and showed me the importance of life." Kristen once told me this and made me see the true meaning of family and how we can't function without one another.

Without Kristen, I don't know how I'd survive sometimes; she holds the biggest impact on my life, and I couldn't be more thankful to have someone as great as her as a hero.

Page created on 5/12/2005 4:55:57 PM

Last edited 5/12/2005 4:55:57 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

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