Laura Ritter-Allio loved the kids at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve (BGCWR).
So when she died from an aggressive form of breast cancer, her husband, Michael Allio, was determined to find a way to give back to the Clubs and keep her spirit alive. That came in the form of a partnership in which the artwork of five Boys & Girls Club members was transformed into a collection of clothing, sweatshirts, mugs and pins. Profits from the sale of the items benefit the nonprofit’s local Clubs.
The collection is part of the L4 (Live Life Like Laura) Project, founded by Allio.
“We hope (people) find this collection as inspiring as the children, young adults, dedicated team of staff and volunteers that help build a better and brighter future for Akron’s youth,” said Michael Allio.
Laura was actively involved in BGCWR, which is now part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio. Even after her diagnosis, she never lost her enthusiasm or grace, said Michael, who added that he and Laura served on the planning committee for Aspire, BGCWR’s gala. In addition, Laura served on the Clubs’ board of directors.
“Laura’s compassion for our youth was evident in all she did,” BGCWR Executive Director Julie M. Johnson said. “We feel honored to work with Michael to design his first nonprofit partnership and create a tribute to Laura’s legacy.”
The collection of L4 merchandise was inspired through a partnership with BGCWR in which Club kids were asked to create a piece of art that exemplified what the Boys & Girls Clubs meant to them. The artwork was collected and handed over to professional artist Matt Miller, who then transformed the designs into the various items in the collection, which may be viewed at https://l4project.com/collections/boys-girls-club-collection.
Michael Allio announced the partnership by awarding a $1,500 scholarship check to BGCWR’s Bud Rogers 2020 Youth of the Year Abrianna Johnson, a junior at Akron’s Archbishop Hoban High School. Johnson is planning a career in nuclear physics, and Ohio State University currently tops her list of prospective colleges.
For info, visit wrkids.org.