Local high school student receives volunteer award

Courtesy photos Hudson resident Chloe Tardif, third from left, received recognition for her volunteer work with Hudson Special Olympics during the 16th annual Spirit of New Hampshire Awards. Tardif coached basketball and softball for Hudson Special Olympics.

HUDSON – “I don’t volunteer to get an award. I do it because I enjoy doing it and I enjoy helping others,” Hudson resident Chloe Tardif said.

The Bishop Guertin High School junior recently received recognition for her volunteer work with Hudson Special Olympics.

Tardif, who has been involved with the organization for the past 10 years, now serves as a unified partner and coach.

Volunteer New Hampshire, a social service organization headquartered in Concord, hosted its 16th annual Spirit of New Hampshire Awards on Nov. 13. Several individuals and organizations were recognized for their community service.

Chloe said the award recognized her work she did this year, which is running softball and basketball teams for disabled children. She also helps with practices for the organization’s track program.

Chloe was happy to receive the award, but said she wasn’t expecting it. For her, it’s not about the praise she receives – it’s the connections she has made with the athletes.

“One of the athletes has to use a communication board. I remember making him laugh and that was one of the best moments,” Chloe said.

Although she is teaching players the game for the Special Olympics, she has learned some lessons herself. “I really enjoy spending time with the kids,” Chloe said. “I think I’ve definitely learned a lot from them from the way they interact with each other. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons. They don’t give up; they’re strong people.”

And she has seen this up close and personal with a family member, specifically her sister, who has cerebral palsy. Chloe’s mother, Deanna, said her daughter with cerebral palsy got involved in Special Olympics, which eventually prompted the rest of the family to participate.

“All of my kids have been volunteering in any way they can,” Deanna said.

Deanna said Chloe is involved in a number of services. Aside from Hudson Special Olympics, she is an altar server at her church, a volunteer at the church’s food pantry and she has served as a coach in local recreational programs for basketball and soccer. She’s also a member of her school’s student council, serves as a student ambassador and will soon become a member of the National Honor Society.

“She’s always positive; she’s always doing what she can; she’s friendly with everyone; and she’s a very good student,” Deanna said.

The passion of volunteering runs deeply through the Tardif family.

Deanna said, “If you have an opportunity to help somebody, you should. Why would you not?”

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.