Red Bank, NJ (PRWEB) May 29, 2014
Eighth-graders at Saint James school will graduate and move on to high school next week knowing the true meaning of "paying it forward," a lesson learned from a special little girl and classmate who had a very big heart and smile that touched all who knew her before she died.
Missing from the eighth-grade graduation from St. James will be Rose Annmarie Rusch, a vibrant, much-loved classmate who passed away three years ago at the age of 10 from complications following heart surgery. She was a happy little girl who befriended everyone. Her presence will be felt during the graduation of the class that should have included Rose, as well as children and others around the world being helped through the foundation her family created in her name.
At graduation on Friday, June 6 at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Red Bank, the Rusch family will unveil a quilt handmade by the graduates. It is a gift from the Class of 2014, in Rose’s memory, to some special children who have only been able to dream about a new school they hope to graduate from one day. They are orphans of Haiti’s devastating earthquake some three years ago. The orphanage is one of many projects helped through the Rose Annmarie Rusch Foundation, created by Rose’s parents. Another group, Helping Haitian Angels, is making the dream of a school for the orphans a reality with the building of a new school. The quilt made by the St. James students will hang in the entrance of the school, greeting students and inspiring them to “Dream Big” and to never give up hope. The quilt will be blessed during the St. James graduation ceremony and will begin its journey to Haiti.
And, when Rose’s friends receive their diplomas next week and move on to high school, each will be given a special rose pin from The Rose Annmarie Rusch Foundation to remind them of Rose… and to remind them to continue to “pay it forward” throughout their lives. The pin was designed with the help of local jeweler Alan Fisher, owner of A. H. Fisher Diamonds in Red Bank, NJ.
"Graduation is a celebration of academic achievement and a time to reflect on all of those special moments that got you to this point," says Colleen Rusch, Rose’s mother. "I want to congratulate all of the graduates and wish them much success as they move on to high school and I want to thank them for making this special gift that will inspire others. I also want to thank all of their parents for the continued love and support that they have given my family.”
The Foundation was founded by Colleen and Doug Rusch after the unexpected, tragic loss of their 10- year-old daughter Rose in March 2011. Rose was a fifth-grade student and junior varsity cheerleader at St. James. Cheerleading was Rose's passion as it created the energy to make people smile. To her classmates, family and friends, Rose was “a cheerleader of life” who treated everyone with the same kindness, compassion and cheer. “Rose had a unique ability to touch people,” Mrs. Rusch added about her youngest child and only daughter.
“I often think and feel that Rose is guiding the work we do and would be very happy that we are helping these orphans in Haiti, who have been through so much. We want the Foundation to help create the next generation of global philanthropists. Teaching students about ways to give back to their communities, teaching them to inspire those who have lost hope… to never give up… and to pay it forward,” said Mrs. Rusch. “Rose made such an impact on this world . . .it is our honor to create this legacy for our very special little girl through the Foundation.”
In addition to establishing educational scholarships for students who "pay it forward", the Foundation also helps those less fortunate. The Haitian orphanage and school are only two of the many projects the Foundation has taken on. It has helped victims of Hurricane Sandy, provided support to military families, provided enough books to open three libraries in Mombasa, helped support a maternity clinic, also in Mombasa and provided medical care for two children suffering from hemophilia in India. Foster children in the U.S. also benefit from the Foundation.
“Rose was dainty, petite, always cheerful, full of energy, and lit up any room she entered. I know now, only after Rose passed away, that she was a true “angel” among us,” said Mrs. Rusch. “We feel Rose’s loss every day. Rose didn’t just leave her family behind; she left a whole community behind. It is heartwarming to know that Rose will never be forgotten. I know many pray to Rose for help and strength and that her spirit shines brightly within us.”
Find more information about Rose at http://www.roserusch.org.