UTICA — One tiny seed of kindness planted in 2009, by then-sixth-grader Leah Ammond, has grown into a project — The Leah Project — that has benefited 11 schools this year alone, including Utica Junior High School and Mount Vernon’s Dan Emmett Elementary School.
Leah, now an eighth-grade student at Tuslaw Middle School in Massillon, is the inspiration behind the project which is sponsored by Midwest Innovations. When her father, Dave, was laid off three years ago, Leah was given two gift cards by her mother’s employer, Midwest Innovations, part of Team Midwest. Leah spent part of the money on necessary school supplies, then asked if she could give the rest to her school.
“I knew kids who didn’t have as much as I did,” Leah explained, “and my dad had lost his job previously, so I knew it was hard to go through all this and not be sure what tomorrow would be like. So, I decided it would be better to give it to my school, to someone else who would need it more than I did.”
When the president of the company, Joseph Knetzer, heard about Leah’s action, Leah’s Project was born.