We are so engrossed with complaining about how our lives are that we do not realize how privileged we are to have a roof over our head and access to basic necessities of life.

Leanne Carrasco, a Waltrip HS senior is inspiring many after she canceled her graduation party, and used the money to treat homeless residents at Star of Hope to a pizza party. Earlier this year, Carrasco told her parents that she did not want a graduation party, instead, she wanted to give back to the community [1].

“Not a lot of people have the same options like me. It’s not fair,” she told CNN. “There are a lot of people who need help. So I give it.”

Together with her family, Carrasco reached out to the Star of Hope and began planning for the event.

“I just want to be a blessing and show these beautiful women and children that no matter what, someone does care,” Leanne said. “It’s very fulfilling to know that I’m able to help others instead of just helping myself,” Carrasco told Komo News. “It feels so amazing.”

In the months leading up to the party, Carrasco and her friends collected hand wipes, toothbrushes, deodorant, toothpaste, and packed them into hygiene-bags to hand out as gifts, for the residents [2]. Although Carrasco had previously volunteered at the Star of Hope Family Development Center, she wanted to make it extra-special this time.

“Parties, they don’t last that long, only a couple of hours. Probably, I won’t even remember it. But being able to give to these people, it means a lot,” Carrasco said.

A Magical Day
Scott Arthur, a spokesman for the shelter, said that Carrasco’s actions had a huge impact as residents were convinced that people do care [3].

“They [the teens] had respect for these people. They saw them as peers. The residents saw this as a validation that people do care,” Arthur told CNN. ”It was a very magical day,” he said, continuing: “It gives you hope for the youth of today. They [the high schoolers] were able to think of other people.”

Moved by her compassion, residents of the shelter gave her a standing ovation and lined up to hug her. “I told her this was her final exam, and she got an A-plus,” Arthur said.

Carrasco enjoins people to appreciate what they have and to always give back to others.

Future Plans
This fall, she plans on studying nursing at Briar Cliff University, so she can help society.


  1. Instead of Throwing Graduation Party, Teen Throws Pizza Party for the Homeless“, The Epoch Times. June, 2019.
  2. Instead of graduation party, senior treats homeless women & kids to pizza“, FOX 32 Chicago. June, 2019.
  3. Instead of a graduation bash, this high school senior threw a pizza party for the homeless“, CNN. June, 2019.
  4. Graduating teen throws pizza party for homeless women, children“, KomoNews. June, 2019.
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