She may be young, but she is already having a big impact at a local hospital and throughout the community. And Krystal Erickson is a leading example at Rigby Middle School. She's not your typical 8th grader. Sure she's 13-years old, but already at a young age, she is thinking ahead and looking out for others. Her vice principal agrees.
"Oh, I think she brings a lot of positive energy into our school. We've been working on trying to do a lot of positive things in our school, student council, etc... and this just adds more to what is going on in our school, so that the community is aware that we do have students that do good things for the community and the school," said Vice-Principal LaRelle Greenhalgh.
It began as just a simple school project, but it branched out into helping the community. Erickson wanted to help mothers coping with the death of an infant.
"I got donations like memory boxes to make it easier for the moms and to make it easier to go home to have something to remember their babies because they don't get to take a baby home. I made 27 little blankets for them to wrap up and take pictures and their moms can take it home, and then I got a lot of clay donations because one thing the hospital does is put the baby's footprints in it so the moms can take it home," said Erickson.
She took all the supplies to Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls. The labor and delivery nurses were amazed at her thoughtfulness.
"In fact, I got tears in my eyes when she first came to the hospital because she had crates of items that they were donating, and they did have a casket that they donated as well, which is really hard to come by. And the fact that we were able to provide a casket for a baby that had passed away was really really important to that family. And If they have some tangible things, like a foot mold or a memory box, where they can open it up and look at the footprints and the bands the baby wore in the hospital, it really does help with the grieving process," said Dana Meacham, manager of labor and delivery.
Time to help out and as Mountain America Credit Union pulls up to Rigby Middle School, it means it's time to Pay It Forward.
"It's a junior award and a junior society," said Erickson, answering an unrelated question in a conference room.
"Krystal," said a man walking into the room.
"Yes?" replied Erickson.
"How are you?" said the man.
"Good. How are you?" said Erickson.
"Good. I'm Kory (Carling) with Mountain America Credit Union. We've heard about your how awesome you are and how kind you are and what you've been doing to help the people in our community," he said.
"Yes," said Erickson, wondering what was happening next.
"And for that reason, I'm here today to Pay It Forward. So I've brought with me today $500 in cash that I know you are going to continue to use to better the lives of those individuals in our community. So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, thank you for all that you are doing," said Carling.
"Thank You!" said Erickson.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"Thank you so much. I didn't even expect this. Thank you!" replied Erickson.
"You're welcome. That's awesome what you are doing," said Carling.
"What do you think of that?" asked Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz.
"Wow! Um, did not expect that at all! I'm totally going to keep doing this and donate this to the hospital and so, I'm very happy that I got this." said Erickson.
If you would like to help and donate to Erickson's cause, contact Rigby Middle School at 208-745-6674.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.