It's that time of year when teenagers everywhere are donning their caps and gowns and saying goodbye to high school. Graduating high school is a momentous occasion in any young person's life, and many choose to have a big party to celebrate those four years of hard work. One Texas teen decided she didn't want a party for herself, and instead chose to host a pizza party for the homeless as a way to celebrate her big day.
Leanne Carrasco is a Texas teenager who decided to throw a pizza party for homeless women and children in her community to celebrate her graduation from high school. The teen explained why she chose to think of others instead of just herself on such a milestone occasion to CNN. "Not a lot of people have the same options as me. It's not fair," she said. "There are a lot of people who need help. So I give it."
Although Carrasco has previously volunteered at the Star of Hope's Women and Family Development Center with her family over the years, this time she decided to enlist the help of friends and fellow students to pull off the party. Not only did Carrasco provide about 90 pizzas for the residents of the shelter but she and her friends also assembled 400 personal care bags to give out to those in need. The students gathered items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand wipes, and deodorant for the hygiene bags they distributed to the shelter residents at the party.
“I just want to be a blessing and show these beautiful women and children that no matter what, someone does care,” Carrasco told KPRC 2 News. Clearly, Carrasco's actions had an impact on the shelter residents and the administration. "They (the teens) had respect for these people. They saw them as peers," Scott Arthur, a spokesman for Star of Hope told CNN. "The residents saw this as a validation that people do care."
All in all, Carrasco and her friends served lunch to approximately 200 people during their pizza party. "It was a very magical day," Arthur said. "It gives you a hope for the youth of today. They (the high schoolers) were able to think of other people." Residents of the shelter were so happy that Carrasco thought of them and hosted the lunch they gave her a standing ovation while many lined up to give the teenager a hug and personally thank her for her thoughtfulness. "I told her this was her final exam, and she got an A-plus," Arthur said.
Carrasco plans to enroll in Briar Cliff University this fall where she'll put her compassion and thoughtfulness for others to good use as she plans to study nursing. "I think you should always know you're lucky to have what you have," she told CNN. "Don't take that for granted and continue to give."