PODCAST: S5:EP6–Rei Horst, The Defensive Line

Join us for S5:EP6 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Rei Horst, Executive Director for The Defensive Line sits down with our host Roy Kessel to discuss the story of The Defensive Line and the incredible work she is doing on suicide prevention.

Rei is a fierce lover of people and is dedicated to ensuring dignity in service to others. Through organizing, policy, and program development, Rei has worked extensively in housing and homelessness and serving people in crisis. She led a county-wide coordinated emergency shelter entry program for families and individuals experiencing homelessness and worked with policymakers and community organizations to build a more collaborative and effective shelter system. 
In partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council and Arc Skoru, Rei developed a rating system for emergency shelters that promotes whole-system thinking and standardization in both physical design and service implementation. Her leadership and community development skills contributed to successful field operations for 2020 political campaigns. 
A graduate of Philosophy and Ethics from West Chester University with a Master’s in Public Policy from Temple University, Rei resides in Philadelphia with her pit-beagle mix Charlie and enjoys cooking (and eating), live concerts, and running along the Schuylkill River Trail.

The Definitive Line’s mission is to end the epidemic of youth suicide, especially for young people of color, by transforming the way we communicate and connect about mental health. They empower adults to connect with young people over their shared humanity and the shared hope that things do get better; that life is worth living.

Rei Horst joins our host Roy Kessel on S5:EP6 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:30 Rei First Experience with Sports
  • 01:35 Playing Music
  • 02:40 Attending College and Picking a Major
  • 03:45 Preparation for After College
  • 05:45 Creating a Better System of Service
  • 07:45 Staff Size of Chester County
  • 08:35 Next Challenge
  • 10:15 Graduate School
  • 11:55 Plans After Graduate School
  • 15:00 Creation of The Defensive Line
  • 18:20 Mental Health Conversations
  • 25:20 Plans For The Defensive Line
  • 27:55 The Defensive Line Workshops
  • 32:50 Giving a Voice to the Thoughts In Your Head
  • 35:00 Congratulating and Supporting Rei
  • 35:30 Rei as Commissioner of the NFL
  • 38:55 Parting Words


Kelsey Donnolo

Kelsey Donnolo

Sports Philanthropy Network

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