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Kelly Taylor stands behind her youth group at a food drive event.

Originally from Port Orchard, Washington, Kelly Taylor didn’t know at the time that a summer internship at Brookdale Presbyterian church would turn into more than 10 years of service as the director of student ministries.

Now that she’s leaving to move to North Carolina with her husband and two daughters, Taylor is reflecting on the time she’s spent at the church, which started in 2006 as a summer intern.

“The youth director here at the time went to my college, and so he had sent out a message to everybody that was in youth or education, ‘Hey, we have this internship available,’ so I applied,” Taylor says.

Taylor, who originally went to school for educational ministry, always had a passion for counseling and knew that she wanted to work with children.

“I wanted to go into counseling, specifically school counseling,” she says.

Following her 10-week internship at the church, Taylor decided to move to the St. Joseph area.

“When I came out of college, I felt welcomed here, and so when I graduated they said, ‘Would you consider coming out here?’”

Since 2009, Taylor has worked under the role of director of student ministries at Brookdale for students in middle school to 12th grade. Students she’s worked with, however, are from all areas of the community and all religious backgrounds.

“For a lot of our students, youth group is church for them. A lot of those kids, that’s the only time they might hear the gospel,” Taylor says.

After her many years of service at the church, Taylor is moving to North Carolina to start a new chapter with her husband and two daughters.

She plans to continue working with children when she moves.

“I’ve always been involved in church and in church ministry in some way volunteering, and it’s something I’m going to continue to do. When I move to North Carolina, we will find a church that we want to be a part of.”

Taylor’s favorite part of her time at Brookdale is the community that she found while she was there.

“Brookdale doesn’t try to pretend that anybody here is perfect or has their life together or anything like that,” Taylor says.

To learn more about Brookdale Presbyterian Church, check its website brookdalechurch.com or call 816-279-0983.

Abby Trapp can be reached

at abby.trapp@newspressnow.com

Follow on Twitter at @NPNowTrapp