Carley Horan Finds Balance in the Community

    Carley Horan motivates middle school girls at November's Girls PLAY event.

    Dec. 3, 2013

    For an athlete, balance is paramount. In the game of lacrosse, players must pivot and sprint, throw and catch, and avoid opponents at high speeds. For USC sophomore Carley Horan, this discipline has become not only an athletic skill, but a way of life.

    When asked to prioritize what she defines as valuable, Horan lists her family, her studies, her commitment to sports, and the desire to be an active member of her community. It becomes obvious that balance is the secret to success in her sometimes hectic student-athlete schedule. But for a person with so many interests, Horan never loses sight of those around her.

    This fall, Horan has become a leader for her teammates during their off-season community outreach efforts. Of the 21 USC athletic teams, the lacrosse group has logged the second highest community service hour count this semester, with a total of 213 hours. By the Christmas, they will average over 9 hours per athlete, a feat never accomplished by a USC team in one semester.

    This type of laudable output is due in part to Horan's leadership. In November, when her teammates served as mentors at a Girls PLAY event, Horan readily offered to share a personal testimony about how she works to maintain positive self-image with the impressionable middle school girls in attendance. When a Philippines relief event was brought to her attention, Horan rallied a group of teammates to aid the Athletic Department and the nonprofit Feeding Children Everywhere. The group packed 40,000 meals for those in the areas of the Philippines recently devastated by natural disaster.

    "I am only a sophomore, but even in one year I have learned so much about what it takes to be a student-athlete at USC," said Horan when asked about her impressive leadership skills. "The most valuable thing I have learned has definitely been developing the ability to look at my role as a student athlete in a bigger picture."



    Despite all the team-based work, Horan's most consistent community involvement occurs on an individual basis. Through the Peer Health Exchange (PHE), a national nonprofit that provides health education to students in low-budget schools, Horan has become a personal mentor to local children. On top of her intensive commitment to the lacrosse team, Horan teaches comprehensive health and helps kids make positive lifestyle choices by devoting 4-6 hours a week to these efforts.

    "I just feel so lucky to have lived such a great life," said Horan of her motivation behind this generosity. "If I can help someone else attain any of the amazing opportunities that I have received throughout my life by teaching, touring, or donating, that would be the most rewarding thing I could ever do."

    Carley Horan is a prime example of a well-rounded athlete, incorporating her body, mind, and spirit for the betterment of others. In her balanced approach, Horan is leading her teammates and local kids toward an exciting future on and off the lacrosse field.

    "Though being a USC student athlete is a very important role that defines me, it is not the only one," said Horan. "I feel that one way I can share my gifts is by volunteering in the community."