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Eldemire remembered through foundation

By Audrey Davis, The Miami Student

If Rebecca Eldemire were still here today, her mother, Marlene Eldemire, thinks she knows what her daughter would say about the foundation her family created in her memory: "You go. You go, family!"

It has been almost one year since her tragic death, but the Rebecca C. Eldemire BEEPS (Betterment for Environmental and Earth Protection) Foundation continues to grow, carrying on Becca's legacy.

"We set it up in honor of my daughter," Marlene said. "She was a geography and sustainability major - very passionate about the environment and all that goes with that."

Rebecca's family and friends have been working hard throughout the past year to continue supporting her dreams and passion about the environment.

"We've pretty much just been in fundraising mode," said Marlene. "We plan to use the donated money as giving to causes that fit within Becca's dreams and goals to make Earth a better place to live."

Much of the foundation's early focus was getting the 501c nonprofit status. Last summer, BEEPS was awarded this status, which means the foundation is now eligible for certain benefits, such as exemptions from state sales, property and income tax.

They did give one grant to the farm in Clarksville, Ohio, where Becca spent a summer for an internship called That Guy's Family Farm. The farm raises certified organic produce and little bit of livestock. They also cut flowers and sell their products to farmer's markets as well as to other wholesale vendor.

Guy Ashmore, the owner of the farm, says the farm was able to have three interns instead of two because of the grant.

For the past six years, the farm has hired only two interns who live in on-sight housing. The interns help with all aspects of the farm: from planning to cultivating and helping with deliveries.

Ashmore said he got to know Becca pretty well during her internship, and she really seemed to enjoy her time on the farm.

"I just think [the foundation] is a great tribute to Rebecca, and it was a nice help for us and nice of them to think of us for their grant," Ashmore said.

Marlene says they have even bigger plans for the future and many new ideas. They would love to plant vegetable gardens in urban areas where neighborhood kids would be able to help set it up and tend to it. It was Becca who had originally pitched this idea to her family the summer before she passed away.

"I know she would want us to go crazy with it and have goals that would be very hard to achieve, but these are all things that Becca had discussed that she wanted to do," said Marlene. "She had lots of grand ideas."

While Becca was a student at Miami, she spent a month at a small town in Tanzania where she helped teach English to children.

Marlene said that, at some point, they hope to install solar panels for the school in the town where Becca stayed and help with electricity and other basic needs.

Becca was also a member of the service fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, whose current members have taken on the BEEPS Foundation as their philanthropy.

Senior and co-service chair of Phi Sigma Pi Jamie Budhan says they have mostly collected donations within the chapter to support the cause.

"We have also given gifts to support the family and remind them that we're always thinking about Becca," Budhan said. "By supporting her, I think it means a lot to not only me but to our entire chapter."

Marlene says that she knows her daughter would be proud of everyone trying to continue her legacy through the foundation.

"It's my honor and privilege to do this in my daughter's name," she said. "Carrying on her legacy is very important to me."