Kristen Cooper has a passion for service, her family and her business. She and her husband, Mike Cooper, own Spain & Cooper, which builds custom homes, develops real estate communities and offers remodeling services. Before working with her husband, she was the executive director of the non-profit HOPE – Horses Helping People.
HOPE helps children and adults with special needs connect with horses in a therapeutic and educational way. HOPE also offered a program for survivors of domestic violence, she said. Although her time as the executive director of HOPE ended, her passion for service remained. Kristen now puts her experience with non-profits to use by devoting time to Peaceful Paths in various ways.
She has always loved the empowering mission of Peaceful Paths and was drawn to helping other women. As a founding member of the Rotaract Club of Gainesville, one of her first experiences with Peaceful Paths was bringing some donations to the shelter around the holidays.
“We went and decorated and brought a Christmas tree and some food,” she said. “It was something that really struck a cord with me and I think of that experience every year while I’m decorating my own tree.”
This year, Kristen appeared as a chef for the first time in the 16th Annual Guest Chef Cocktail Party.
“It was a great experience,” she said. “It’s nice to have a fundraiser that’s really creative, different and so much fun.”
She cooked a butternut squash soup. When choosing her dish, it was important to have something she could cook in a crockpot because of being a busy, working mom.
Kristen is already brainstorming what she will cook for next year’s Guest Chef event.