The loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy– one with which Eric and Lisa Adsit are familiar. In May 2007, 17 year-old Kayla Adsit was killed as the passenger in a vehicular accident. The high school senior planned to attend Colorado State University in the fall with the goal of becoming a counselor.

Kayla left a legacy of compassion and joy. Thanks to her parents, Eric and Lisa, Kayla’s eternal legacy will live on.

 “We felt like we needed to do something to honor her– to make something positive out of such a horribly tragic situation,” says Lisa Adsit.

Kayla grew up in Fort Collins and loved her community. Her older sister participated in music programs, and Kayla soon found herself enjoying music opportunities at Rocky Mountain High School and out of school playing piano and perfecting her singing. “She was one of those kids that seemed to run the school,” remembers Eric. “She and her friends poured themselves into the high school experience.”

Talking with the Adsits, it’s clear Kayla was a special person who wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. “She, like her mom, had a soft spot for people who needed help. She could pick up on them a mile away,” recalls Eric. “After the accident, we went to Kayla’s school. We were overwhelmed by the stories kids who shared about Kayla’s interactions with them. Literally, she would walk into a room and, if she saw someone struggling, she’d drop everything and go over to be with and help them. That was just her.”

When the unspeakable happened, the Adsits started looking for ways to honor their daughter. “It took us a couple years to decide,” says Eric. “It seemed like she was whispering in our ear… ‘how about this, mom and dad?’.” The Adsits opened the Kayla Marie Adsit Memorial Foundation Fund in 2009.

The fund is focused on helping children in Fort Collins access opportunities to take part in music. “Kayla loved music, she loved kids, she loved helping others, and she loved Fort Collins, so we married those things into her fund,” explains Eric. Over the fund’s 14 years at the Community Foundation, hundreds of grants to schools and nonprofits have helped fund everything from the purchase of instruments, to music therapy classes, to transportation for a preschool sing-along.

“We feel like this world can be so crazy, and kids are experiencing so many tough things,” shares Lisa. “Music can be so positive for kids. Having an outlet to play an instrument, or sing, that they can turn to when things get tough, along with the positive social aspect of making good friends – music is so important.”

Eric and Lisa Adsit are members of the Foundation’s Legacy Society, ensuring Kayla’s legacy lives on after their lifetimes.