Cards of caring: Leechburg student organizes charity at nursing home

Josie Emminger roams the halls of West Haven Manor in Allegheny Township on a mission — of charity.

Clutching a large stack of colorful handmade cards, Emminger pops into the room of West Haven resident Barbara Reilly, 74, a resident of two years.

Emminger, a rising senior at Leechburg Area High School, sits down and visits with Reilly — presenting her with a card made by Leechburg Area fourth graders.

Reilly breaks into a huge grin after reading her card, commenting on how lovely the card was.

She shares it with her daughter and grandson.

“This is wonderful,” Reilly says, reading her card that featured a mouse picture with encouraging words. “They are so sweet — those kids.”

“I think it’s awesome young children are doing community service, and this will bring joy to the residents here,” says Patsi Weethee, Reilly’s daughter visiting from Grove City, Ohio.

Emminger recently launched her “Letters to Seniors” charity project after noticing some lonely seniors out of West Haven’s 142 residents.

Her mother works as a nurse at West Haven, and Emminger is set to volunteer there this summer.

She wanted to reach out to the residents with a positive project and enlisted the help of young, creative hands.

Her goal is to provide cards to all of the residents. She delivered 60 recently to the activities department at West Haven.

“The cards will mean the world to them,” says Paige Devlin, activities aide at West Haven. “The fact that someone took the time to make these, the residents will appreciate that someone cared.”

Emminger has found her calling in volunteering.

She can be found almost daily during the school year volunteering as a student mentor in elementary classes at Leechburg Elementary.

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