Corwin Johnson was a much loved 16-year-old junior at Mesabi East. He had a dream to collect 9,000 pillows for the needy but the day after announcing his plans, Corwin unexpectedly passed away.

His family and school were in shock and mourning but the day of the funeral, the students decided to fulfill Corwin’s dream by collecting the pillows in his memory. The idea invigorated them and they set to work to make it a reality.

“After attending the funeral the students were very sad/depressed, then one of the students remembered Corwin’s dream. The atmosphere in the room changed. The students became energized, determined and even excited. They had a purpose. The project has provided a great deal of healing for the students as they work toward honoring Corwin by fulfilling his dream.” – Cynthia Klaras, Counselor

They contacted a pillow company in hopes of receiving a donation and were amazed when a truck full of pillows arrived at the school.

“What Mike Lindell, founder of My Pillow, did for our school and community was amazing! He didn’t need to donate 4,500 pillows to help our students reach their Pillows for Corwin goal but he did. Thank you for making such a difference and empowering these students to do something positive with their pain.”

Corwin’s friends confirm that their project is helping them heal.

“Pillows for Corwin has not only helped me heal like others but it personally has helped me in a way that I can not only feel but see that I’m making a difference in someone’s life in Corwin’s memory. It has also showed me that people have problems that we may not know about and we should not judge them for that, but try to help them get back on their feet.” – Destiny

“Pillows for Corwin has helped me in so many ways. One of the main reason it has helped me is the fact I lost another friend to suicide almost two years ago. I didn’t really get to do a lot with his but I am glad I get to do something positive in Corwin’s memory. Losing people to suicide is never easy, but doing something positive with this tragic event helps me, not accept it, but move on from our loss. Corwin was a carefree, kind, and sweet friend. He always put others first, and that’s what we are doing here. Helping his dream come true and helping people in need. No matter how long this goes on he will live with all of us until the end. – Tatum

“Pillows for Corwin has helped me in a few ways. It’s helped me get a better understanding of how one dream, from one person, in one school, can help make a difference so big, either nationally or globally. I never thought that a simple idea from a student could bring a smile or help out so many people in need, especially with pillows. I feel that this program has helped plenty of other people by providing them with comfortable pillows that they need. Most of all, I think it’s helped Corwin’s family by giving them happiness and an opportunity to say that their son, even after the grave, that he’s helping so many people’s lives and bringing smiles to all of their faces.” – Keanan  

The students have been busy delivering pillows to places that are in need. Some of these places are United Way, Red Cross, Veteran’s Homes, Crisis Shelters, Domestic Abuse Center, Educational Facilities, Transitional Housing, Crises Centers, Detox Center, Housing for homeless teens, etc. They are also still busy collecting pillows!

– Barbara Hinsz, Mesabi East School District

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