In 1980, ten year old Elisa Nelson was riding her bike to Palm Harbor Middle School when she was kidnapped and murdered. Elisa was adventurous, brave, and athletic but more than that, she was kind and generous. She would teach neighborhood kids to read. She would save up her money and donate it to the MDA Telethon. She loved animals. She loved being a Girl Scout, dancing, gymnastics, cheerleading and playing baseball. She loved to make her friends smile. One of her last essays from school was titled “if I had three wishes” wherein she describes, in detail, the horse she would wish for and closes it with “these would be my greatest wishes.” Her death deeply affected the entire community and when her killer was finally brought to justice in 2013, it enabled many of her friends and family to talk out loud about this terrible event. Recently, a memorial based upon Elisa’s personality and writings was dedicated in the Palm Harbor Middle School Library and many of Elisa’s former classmates expressed a desire to help raise money for Elisa’s Memorial Fund but wanted to do so on a larger scale. That is why, with the help of the Pinellas Education Foundation, we have established an “Elisa’s Greatest Wishes” charitable fund to carry on Elisa’s legacy and honor her life. Proceeds will go to buy books for school libraries, fund scholarships, Girl Scouts, youth athletics, help sick children, animal charities or anything else that was in Elisa’s nature to help.
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