Students turn grief into compassion
April 3, 2007
Dylan Mohr is a Sierra High School senior who has learned an important life lesson, turning the loss of a students life into a cause that will benefit others.Mohr is one of three Sierra High seniors who, rocked by the tragic death of a North Shore student last fall, have initiated a senior project to help buy clothes for the less fortunate.Speaking to the areas power brokers at service clubs, Mohr found himself in an unfamiliar role. Instead of facing Judge C. Anders Holmer in the courtroom after a scrape with the law, as he had once before, Mohr said he found himself face to face with the Truckee judge at a Rotary Club meeting last week while making a pitch for the clothing-bank fundraiser. Following the death of Mia Eriksson, Mohr and fellow Sierra High seniors Mariesa Yeoman and Jennifer Miller, created a senior project that benefits the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District clothing bank. Former high school students started the clothing bank in 2005 to help support students and their families in need in both Truckee and the North Shore. The Tahoe Forest Hospice Gift & Thrift has offered to match all monetary donations to the clothing bank with vouchers that can be redeemed to buy clothing items. Now, the three Sierra seniors are organizing a Bingo Night fundraiser on April 28 to benefit the clothing bank fund and to remember Mia Eriksson, the North Tahoe High School senior who died last November.Eriksson died in a Southern California horse-riding competition after falling from her horse during a jump. Her untimely death came almost exactly three years after her older sister died in a similar equestrian accident. For Yeoman, a 17-year-old senior, the project has an added emotional punch. Yeoman said she knew Eriksson well, played with her on a volleyball team, and has trouble dealing with the young womans death. The fundraiser will salute Eriksson and let her family know that Truckee residents care, said Mohr. The students started brainstorming ideas for their senior project last October. As part of the service project required to qualify for graduation this spring, the seniors have been involved planning every last detail of the event. Reaching out to the community for donations wasnt always easy for them.I dont like asking people for money, said Miller, also a 17-year-old Sierra High senior. The students so far have raised about $3,000 in donations from local groups, said Jane Loomis, principal at Sierra High School and Coldstream Alternative. The three seniors also had to face their fears of public speaking, making presentations to local Rotary groups and other nonprofits to ask for support. Principal Loomis said the students have really demonstrated their commitment to the project, adding that Mohr has really blossomed because of his involvement.