Local Girl Scout starts USO Kids Houston
Submitted | Updated Sep 28, 2011
As any typical Girl Scout Cadette, Jordan Hayley enjoys camping, earning badges, hanging out with her troop, traveling and making a difference. However, Jordan is far from typical. As the first president of USO Kids Houston since 2008, Jordan works full-time promoting patriotism and showing children and teens they can make a difference in the lives’ of troops.
“I have learned how important it is to be around really positive kids,” says Jordan. “I have also learned in life it is really important to stay on the right side of things.”
Jordan first began attending USO Houston events with her mother as a child, where she met many positive role models who inspired her to found USO Kids Houston.
Soon, Jordan found herself leading a group of young patriots, organizing fundraising events and honoring veterans. Since its inception, the organization has collected thousands of items for United States soldiers through charity events and partnerships with Houston Texans, Girl Scouts and Bandina Christian Youth Camp.
Since assuming her role, Jordan has become more aware of the personal sacrifices soldiers make for freedom. During one memorable event, Jordan stood in silence for more than one hour while 514 names of fallen soldiers were read.
“We were with families who had lost someone overseas, and we could see the young mothers in front of us with small children,” she says. “Sometimes what we do is very sad. It is hard work, and takes a lot of determination.”
Jordan’s determination eventually led her to create a new group in June for the rest of Texas, called Texan Kids 4 Troops. The group’s current goal is to raise more than $25,000 to send 100 military children to Camp Bandina Christian Youth Camp during the summer of 2012 for 12 weeks. The group has also created care packages for troops, fed more than 5,000 troops and their families at the Salute to our Troops Tailgate Party, sent greeting cards and worked with the Houston Texans to regularly recognize wounded soldiers during half-time.
An active member of Girl Scouts for six years, Jordan attributes her success and love of volunteerism to Girl Scouts, where she developed leadership skills, dedication and perseverance. As a member of the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Jordan has the opportunity to work with girls who share her patriotism and passion.
In one USO Kids initiative, Jordan and her troop worked with USO volunteers, service members, veterans and public figures, including former President George H.W. Bush, Senator Kay Bailey-Hutchison and entertainer Wayne Newton, in KPRC’s first annual Memorial Day Phone Bank to raise more than $73,000 for the USO.
“I saw that hard work and sacrifice is worth it in the end,” she says. “We gave up our Memorial Day weekend to not only prepare, but to volunteer to help others.”
With her record for success, Jordan admits she must keep a rigorous schedule. Despite the long hours and hard work, Jordan believes her efforts pay off.
“After helping soldiers and their families, seeing the smiles on their faces brings me a lot of joy,” she says.