In eighth grade, Kruschke was a self-proclaimed “average student” until he went on a service trip to Honduras with some of his Gilmour Academy classmates and their families. The trip empowered him to do more. So he joined the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Look Up To Cleveland program, which provides leadership development services to 40 students from Northeast Ohio high schools. Kruschke thrived by digging deep into issues facing the community and earned the Allen Waddle Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions. “If we do take the time to talk to people and listen to people, we can actually learn what an individual community needs and what makes them special,” says Kruschke.
Humble Beginnings: Working at an orphanage in Honduras helped bring Kruschke out of his shell. “I wasn’t shy, but I was just kind of a regular kid who would just be there,” he says. “It showed me that I can actually help someone.”
Weekend Warrior: As a freshman, Kruschke was inspired to be the chapter president for Make A Difference, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together a global service community. Every Sunday, Kruschke goes to the Benjamin Franklin Community Garden with a group of Gilmour students to cultivate and gather food. “We have 29 plots there,” he says. “In the last two years, we have grown over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to donate to the Cleveland Food Bank.”
Friend of Fairfax: This spring, the 18-year-old worked with a group of eight students to interview up to 25 people in the Fairfax community to identify and address issues they were facing such as a lack of grocery stores and public transportation. “I asked them to explain what makes their community different,” says Kruschke. “They know what they need much more than a person who has never lived here and is just trying to impose ideas.”
Internal Offering: Since January, Kruschke has been interning at Corporate Dining in Chagrin Falls to study the state and trends of dining services in post-secondary education. “One thing that that company does is cater to other colleges, because they’re really great problem solvers,” he says. “They go in and try to see how they can make an individual program better.”
Inner Peace: When Kruschke isn’t interning or helping lead a group of his peers, you can find him outdoors hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “When I’m outside in the woods, it helps me relax,” he says. “I do a lot of meditation, so it helps me center myself.”