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Shoemake Foundation helps student in need

When officers discovered a college student had biked nearly 60 miles to Barnesville to camp out and find a job before classes started at Gordon State College, they and the community stepped up to lend 19-year-old Fredrick Barley a hand. Pike County’s Amber Shoemake of The Leland Shoemake Foundation was one of those helping to coordinate helping hands. As soon as she heard about his efforts to continue his education, she called to see what he needed. ’He is a well spoken and very humble and polite young man,’ she said. ‘The purpose of the foundation is not only to honor Leland and bring awareness to the dangers of amoebas but also to help in situations like this and to help people just like Fred. This is what we are here for. He’s such a sweet young man and I’m honored that I got to meet him. He’s going to do great things. Plus, he’s a biology major. That’s close to my heart with everything that happened to Leland. The community has come together to support him and get him the immediate things that he needs which is amazing.’ Shoemake bought clothes and gift cards to Barnesville restaurants and reached out to local business owners to help him get a job. He was hired by Debbie Adamson at DB’s Pizzeria immediately after hearing his story. He has been working ever since and is a great employee, according to his co-workers. After his family was moved from their Conyers home, Barley rode six hours on a small 20-inch bike to Gordon with a duffle bag, tent, box of cereal and two gallons of water. He said he wanted to get to town before other students started filtering in so he could find a job. Thanks to the officers who first found him, Barley stayed in a hotel room for several days and then moved into the dorms at Gordon College. His story was broadcast on major news stations and several fundraisers have been started to help him. Thousands joined Facebook pages set up to garner support, including the Success for Fred group which has around 41,000 members. A Success For Fred gofundme.com page has raised more than $184,000 in just days. ’I was not expecting any of this support and am in awe of how this community has come together to help me and I am extremely grateful,’ Barley said. ‘I was just trying to go to school, find a job and make it on my own. Now it seems as though I am part of a new community and have a new family.’ This will be his second semester at Gordon as a biology major. He hopes to continue his education in the medical field and become a doctor. In addition to the social media effort, Shoemake has created an Amazon.com wish list in Barley’s name where community members and anyone interested in helping Barley can easily send him gifts based on his personal needs.

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