At a time when daily news of violence and hatred is constant, a story about a homeless teen’s determination to get an education and receiving support from strangers is a welcomed reprieve.
Fred Barley carried everything he owned in bags and rode his little brother’s bicycle six hours to reach Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia, reports WSB-TV.
The 19-year-old biology major, who plans to become a psychiatrist, was eager to get back on campus to begin his second semester. Barley lived in the dorms during the school year but had no place to live when the term ended.
The campus police came to investigate last weekend when they received a report that someone had pitched a tent outside the gates of the college. Barley had figured it was OK to live there until the first day of registration. So, he became a little nervous when the police officers arrived and began asking questions.
“I was scared,” he told WSB-TV. “I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to jail.’”
But the officers didn’t arrest him. According to the news outlet, they paid for Barley to spend two nights at a Barnesville motel. Soon word got out about his situation, and other people got involved.
Debra Adamson, a local pizza shop owner, interviewed Barley and offered him a job.
“Something said, ‘Help him.’ I didn’t even know his name,” she told the news station.
Not long after, scores of people also decided to give Barley a hand up in life. Indeed, more than 5,700 strangers donated to a GoFundMe campaign set up on his behalf. In five days they raised nearly $185,000 for him.
“Fred, a man who took the effort to do what you did for his own success and future deserves the kindness people have shown you,” said Andrew Gordon, who pitched in $15 to help the student.
Barley told WSB-TV he’s grateful.
“Every single thing. The prayers, the food, the money, the bikes — I thank God every day,’” he said.
The GoFundMe page said Barley had just a box of cereal and two gallons of water when the police found him. Casey Blaney, who set up the page, asks folks living in the college community to invite the student to dinner a few times a month and to encourage him to achieve his academic goals.
SOURCE: WSB-TV | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter