“Forever Chardon” T-shirt Sales Comforts Community

Amongst the chaos and confusion at Chardon High School on February 27, former alumni and students of the High School immediately moved to action to initiate the healing process. Their efforts have resulted in over $100,000 to support the community’s healing process with over $60,000 going to the Chardon Healing Fund.

It all started with the class of 2007. They wanted to do something to help the community overcome the tragedy at Chardon High School. This group of motivated young adults first began making black and red ribbons as a way of showing support and unity. Their creativity continued with car decals that spread like wildfire throughout the community and across the nation.

On February 28, three current students connected with a local Chardon business, Etched in Time, with the idea to make t-shirts. Brady Lawrence, Kelsey Crowley, and Evan Erasmus, with the help of the shop, created “Forever Chardon” t-shirts. The t-shirts immediately began to serve as a healing mechanism. “The way the kids and this town came together was just amazing,” said the owner of Etched in Time.

Later that evening, Brady, Kelsey and Evan began selling the t-shirts at the vigil held at Saint Mary’s Church. The group hoped to sell a few hundred t-shirts in total and that night alone, they sold over 700! “It was so great walking up to the Church and seeing Brady, Kelsey and Evan outside with no adult or anything; it was all them,” said Matt Leskovec, a Chardon High School student. Matt was asked by the three students to get the word out to the community via Facebook and Twitter. These postings boosted sales even more! The t-shirts sold all over the country and abroad, proving to out hilltop town that a lot of people cared and wanted to help.

February 27 was scheduled to be the State Boys Basketball playoffs at Euclid High School. However, it was postponed to Thursday, March 1. The turnout for the rescheduled game was nothing short of amazing! Many of those in attendance were wearing the student created “Forever Chardon” t-shirts. When the Chardon basketball team entered the crowd stood up and applauded them.
It was a moment to remember!

By the end of May, the number of t-shirts sold topped 6,800. These students wanted to do something that really mattered and it is evident that they did.

It amazing because everywhere we go everyone knows how you feel and everyone supports you and cares for you,” said Matt.

Brady was stunned when they sold 3,000 t-shirts and he never imagined the “Forever Chardon” t-shirts would sell like they did. When asked what he would like to say to those who supported their efforts, he responded, “Thanks for supporting us, it really means a lot to all of the families.”

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

These students have proven to each of us, that when we come together to care for one another, we can heal…one t-shirt at a time. For more information on how you can get a “Forever Chardon” t-shirt please visit the Forever Chardon Website.

Check out the  Chardon Healing Fund website, and don’t forget to “like” the Chardon Healing Fund on Facebook.

Kimm Leininger
Author: Kimm Leininger

Kimm Leininger has served as the Executive Director of United Way Services of Geauga County since 2003. Prior to this, she served as the Executive Director of WomenSafe for five years and as a hospital social worker for three years. Kimm has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University and a Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University. She is also an alumnus of Leadership Geauga County, 2002. Kimm currently serves on the boards of the Geauga County P-16 Initiative, Northeast Ohio Regional P-16 Council, Chardon Healing Fund and Chardon Rotary Club. Kimm lives in Geauga County with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, as well as coaching her children in various sporting activities.