WEST SENECA, N.Y.-- A teen from West Seneca is using her free time to lift the spirits of some people who might need a little cheering up. For her simple gesture that goes a long way, Rachel Larussa is this week's "Great Kid."
The 14-year-old freshman at West Seneca East High School has handwritten and decorated more than 100 cards so far and delivered them to sick and homebound senior citizens, and to others at the McGuire Group's Seneca Health Care Center and Greenfield Health and Rehabilitation.
"I hope it brightens their day and makes them smile. I hope it gives them hope," said Rachel.
The cards are simple and read something like this:
My dear friend,
I am writing this card to you so you know that you are loved and thought of. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.
Rachel was inspired to start this project after seeing her grandfather grow lonely from having barely any visitors outside of family.
"I don't want anyone else to feel as sad as my grandfather did," said Rachel.
She named her effort in his honor: Larussa's Legacy of Love.
"I think my father would be so proud of Rachel," said her mother, Margie Larussa. "For him to influence her that much and for her to actually take action and spread love to other people, he would be extremely proud."
Rachel hoped to touch the hearts of those receiving the cards, and the response, in turn, has touched hers.
"They started to tear up a little bit and they started to say thank you so much," she said. "It makes me feel so good."
Rachel is also on the varsity tennis team and participates in field hockey, key club and student council. Rachel's parents couldn't be more proud and that's why they nominated her to be highlighted as one of 2 On Your Side's "WNY's Great Kids."
"She's very compassionate and she's very loyal and she's very loving and I think that's what makes Rachel so remarkable. She's a shining star," said Margie.
If you'd like to help Rachel by donating time or materials or if you someone who would like to receive a card, please email Rachel at LarussasLegacyOfLove@gmail.com .
To nominate a "Great Kid" to be featured on WGRZ, send details to Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com or call 716-849-2216.