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Living an Exhausting, Exhilarating Life

August 2014

Life is no game, says Kari Durrant, but on the other hand, as a senior majoring in therapeutic recreation, she believes life was meant to be fun, wholesome, and, in the end, physically exhausting and psychologically exhilarating.

“I always wanted to do something with my life that impacts others positively,” she said. “The goal of therapeutic recreation is exactly that - to increase the quality of life for others, either socially, emotionally, physically, or psychologically.”

Kari grew up in Wittmann, Arizona, a small town of about 1,000 people. She was in high school when the town’s first gas station opened.


Four years ago she knew little about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and nothing about Brigham Young University. “I had friends who were LDS,” she said, “but I had no intention of joining.”

Then she met the Breedlove family and accepted the missionary lessons. When she was invited to attend her first baptism,  “I was so excited. I sat with the children on the floor to watch through the glass,” she said. “When the young lady was baptized, I felt like I was being pulled in. That was the day I chose to be baptized.”

Following her conversion in 2010, she longed to be surrounded by peers who shared her exuberance for the gospel.

“When I learned about BYU, I knew immediately, this is where I needed to be,” she said. “Now, I’m a married student at BYU. Being at this great university is meaningful to me because it has helped me become a better person, more like my Heavenly Father.”

Kari is quick to credit her good fortune to her friend Marissa Breedlove. “She is an amazing girl,” she said. “She has been a wonderful friend to me. When my mother lost her jobs, Marissa opened her home and her life to me, even though her family was also passing through hard times. She gave me so much more than half of her bedroom. She gave me a best friend and a sister. The Breedloves are the most Christlike people I know. I strive to be more like them every day.”

Kari explained she grew up with “almost nothing.” Going to college, she said, “was a choice I made knowing very well that there was no way my single mother would be able to help in any way. It was all on me. I prayed and prayed that I would receive help - and finally, I did.

“When I found out that I had received a scholarship I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I shouted for joy and shed tears. I was so happy to think that people were willing to help someone they didn’t know,” described Kari. “I aspire to use this knowledge and experience to be a wonderful therapist and wife and mother.

“Life is hard,” she continued. “College is tough, and paying for it is even more difficult. Donors have gone out of their way to lighten my load, and I can’t thank them enough. I have often been alone in paying for things in my life - a very lonely and desperate feeling.

“But you have changed that. It was truly an answer to prayers to receive this wonderful gift. I desire to be generous and give back in the future, just as you have for me.”

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