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Draper Journal

Corner Canyon High School student takes it upon herself to gather donations for Bell View Elementary students

Oct 04, 2021 11:41AM ● By Julie Slama

Corner Canyon High School senior Emilee Larisch donated 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to Bell View Elementary. (Tamra Baker/Bell View Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Some Bell View Elementary students will be sporting new backpacks, full of school supplies, hygiene items, a water bottle, a book to read and a coloring book to complete, thanks to the generosity of one Corner Canyon High School student who took it upon herself to gather donations for school children in need.

It was more than the simple explanation of “I love helping people and this summer I had tons of time” for senior Emilee Larisch, who with the help of family, friends and people she didn’t even know, filled 100 backpacks available for kindergartners through fifth-graders.

“I have a relative who works in a Title I-type school in California, and it broke my heart hearing about some of the conditions of children. Some of them sleep on the floor, in cars or in homeless shelters and so I reached out to the principal at Bell View and asked how I could help,” Larisch said, adding that she chose Bell View because her step-father attended the elementary.

Tamra Baker became principal of Bell View in July.

“I was absolutely delighted and surprised to hear from Emilee last summer when she texted me and asked if I’d like to have her work on a project for Bell View students,” Baker said. “There was only one answer to that when I heard her dream: ‘Absolutely!’”

Larisch went to work, posting on social media the need for school supplies and hygiene items.

“Tons of people wanted to donate. I set up an Amazon registry and let donors pick out supplies and they shipped them to my house. I also got some cash donations and ordered most everything on Amazon. Then, a group of volunteers came, and we made an assembly line to stuff the backpacks full for the Bell View students,” she said.

In early August, she dropped off 100 backpacks filled with items for students.

It was Larisch’s first service project she had organized on her own.

“I just wanted to help people in need. I’ve done small service projects, with my church group, but this was my first big one on my own. When I heard that some of these students don’t have the basic stuff like wipes, sanitizer, deodorant, toothbrushes on top of school supplies, I knew I had to include those. Then, coloring books are a great stress reliever to include, and I made sure that they had crayons, colored pencils and markers—everything they needed—and a good book to read. I wanted to make sure they had something to think about besides hardship,” she said.

Baker was thankful for Larisch’s efforts.

“She worked all summer to advertise and put together all of these resources for us,” she said. “The students are as delighted as we knew they would be. Her heart and passion for serving just glows from her. We are so glad that we got to be a part of this project and to see the amazing things one young person can do. By day she may be a Corner Canyon Charger, but we think of her as an honorary Mustang for life.”