Changing the world, one child at a time.   
52,000 books and counting...  
        Far away there in the sunshine are my
        highest aspirations. I may not reach them,
        but I can look up and see their beauty,
        believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
                                                        Louisa May Alcott

"It was always clear how connected
Alyssa was to the written word.
I feel lucky to share that connection
with her and to help my students
feel that connection too!"

Clancy Gill
Alyssa's 4th Grade Teacher


Alyssa's Story

Alyssa's life was tragically cut short; two months shy of her 10th birthday. On February 26th, 2007, Alyssa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoma Leukemia (A.L.L.). On March 8th, a short ten days later, she passed away from complications brought on by the treatment of her disease.

Alyssa was fun-loving, with an effortless smile and an infectious laugh. She was an ordinary nine year old who loved to be with her friends, enjoyed playing soccer, skiing, and playing the guitar. She loved music, arts and crafts, and being outdoors. Alyssa also loved almost every type of animal, especially dogs and her two leopard geckos. Her favorite holiday was Halloween, which may have led to her favorite color being orange. Her fashion statement was low maintenance - a hooded sweatshirt and mismatched earrings. Her favorite meal was chicken soft tacos from the Chipotle Mexican Grill - the older she got - the hotter the salsa she chose. Similar to her life, her confidence grew on knowing what she could handle.

Love of Reading
Alyssa loved to read - devouring books at an incredible pace; sometimes reading two or three books a week. She could rattle off a book's author nearly as well as its title. Many times we would find her fast asleep with her glasses on her nose and a book on her chest.

She was blessed to have teachers that nourished this passion for reading and her excitement in creating her own writings. In first grade, the books she enjoyed most were the Magic Tree House series, by Mary Pope Osborne. Her love of animals led her to enjoy Poppy and Rye and Ragweed, by Avi, in second grade. Misty, Shiloh, Hundred Dresses, and Tales of Desperaux caught her greatest attention in third grade and in fourth grade; she was captivated by The Tiger Rising, Old Yeller, The Westing Game, The Good Dog, and so many others.

Along with her natural curiosity, we believe reading gave Alyssa an active vocabulary and imagination, enabling her to write both fictional and non-fictional short stories and poems. We have included two of our favorite poems of hers here.

A Compassionate Heart
Alyssa had a quiet confidence about her that enabled her to always be herself. As one of her classmates wrote, "Alyssa could come up with a new idea when no one else could, and when a creative idea came to her mind, her smile grew and her eyes lit up!". She continually seemed to be processing what was going on around her and had an astonishingly broad view of the world. In third grade, she filled out a sheet describing herself and her goals in life. One of those goals was to change the world . This goal of hers was one of the impetuses for forming this foundation.

Alyssa was also a very kind and compassionate child with many caring thoughts and actions. There were many occasions where she expressed her concern about the health of not only family members, but others less fortunate in this world. In 2005/06, Alyssa allowed her hair to grow long so she could donate it to "Locks of Love", which makes wigs for cancer patients. Ironically, her hair was cut in December of 2006, two months prior to her own diagnosis of cancer. During the holiday season of 2006, three months prior to her death, Alyssa scribbled a simple, yet heartfelt Christmas message to us that displayed her ever present concern for others. This message too, became a motivating force for forming this foundation in her honor.

To honor Alyssa's life, we have created this foundation which supports what gave her life and which combines both her passion for reading and her compassion for others. We hope to do our small part to finish her pursuit to "change the world" in a compassionate and giving way.

We are a 501 (c) (3) organization.

© 2008 Alyssa Cares Foundation