A Christmas wish will come true for a Kearney High freshman.
There is a lot of talk about "cyber–bullying," but some Bearcats are using the internet for anti–bullying. Austin Shoemaker and Becca Christensen are both seniors at the high school and their efforts to help a fellow classmate gained hundreds of supporters on the Facebook group, "Kearney Area Exchange Group."
The page is designed to help local people swap and sell items but has been known to draw in folks searching for advice on services and local issues. Last night, Shoemaker posted a story about kids acting rudely to a fellow student and within a matter of hours tons of people were willing to donate items to help the boy being bullied.
It started out being about the one classmate but now has grown to his entire family. Posts show that the people in the Tri-City area are amazed at what two young people can do to help another.
A school assignment was given to the high schoolers to write a Christmas list and it turned into a lot more. Shoemaker and Christensen explain why this freshman is deserving of such gifts.
"He caught our attention of what he was going through," said Shoemaker. "I did not know him personally just saw him at lunch sitting alone very quiet and shy," said Christensen.
So Becca and Austin decided to make that quiet freshman's holiday wishes come true. They took to Facebook to find help and knew the perfect way to get the community's attention.
"We figured everyone is on Facebook now so we went to Kearney Exchange... bound to be seen by someone," said Shoemaker.
In only a few hours there were over 300 comments on the post and more than 100 ‘likes' from people wanting to help out.
People from out of state donated, "We had one lady from Oklahoma City giving items and wanting to take them out to dinner, she could even relate," said Shoemaker.
The boy's wish list consisted of clothes, other winter essentials and one big ticket item— a game system - that was the most important thing on the list.
"It's the only thing he asked for so we decided to try and get it for him… and so he actually has something he is unexpected to get," the students said.
The boy will get his wish; someone in town saw the post and gifted a blue PSP.
Both Becca and Austin would like to thank everyone in the community for the support. The boy and his family will be surprised on December 20, the last day of school before winter break. He might even get to leave school early.
Those interested in helping out can drop off donations to Kearney Cash, off 25th Avenue, until December 18.
Suggested sizes for the boy are:
*The freshman's sister is in middles school and her size is unknown so gift cards would be best.
Their story is also passing along the spirit of giving is contagious as others are posting on the Kearney Exchange site to get donations for people in need.