The Central Youth Sports baseball team recently combined their efforts to provide a new bike for their teammate, fifth grader Asher Baker, after his bike was stolen.
In just two days, the baseball team members raised $230 by gathering cans around selected parts of Monmouth and Independence neighborhoods.
Asher’s bike was stolen on June 12, thirteen days after his birthday. It was taken from the Baker family’s porch.
“He was really sad,” said Asher’s mom, Conny Baker, as reported by the Polk County Itemizer-Observer. “He had been riding his bike to school in the morning and home, and so he went out to go ride his bike to school with his sister, and he’s like, where’s my bike? And we were looking around and it wasn’t anywhere.”
Conny said that her instinctive reaction was not to worry about Asher’s friends wanting to raise money for a new bike.
“But once I heard it was the brainchild of the boys, I was like, oh for sure, this is going to be amazing,” Conny said. “And I really think, not that I’m all for bikes getting stolen, but it turned into something even more beautiful than if it hadn’t happened. Because if this (fundraiser) wouldn’t have happened, the boys wouldn’t have got together; they made memories themselves. I know Asher and I, we were praying that the bike would come back or that someway there would be a silver lining that … something good would come out of this. We never found his bike. But this has happened, and it’s been really amazing. And really cool for Asher. Makes me proud for all the boys.”
Brothers Easton and Sawyer Herbert, third- and fifth-graders on the baseball team, were the fundraiser leaders, with the assistance of their mom Connie Herbert.
“When we heard about it, one of my sons, Sawyer, came home from practice, and he felt so bad,” Connie said. “And then his brother Easton said, ‘oh we should do a fundraiser for him.’ And it transpired from there.
“Some people thought we could collect money from parents to help,” Connie said, “and I was like, no, it’d be more fun for the kids to do something, so we were just like, well, cans is easy. So that’s how it transpired. We got a group of boys together, went around the neighborhood, filled the bike trailer up with cans. We did basically, five hours in one day, we collected. We returned cans the next day and that took a couple hours. The kids went around and said what happened and asked random neighbors.”
Sawyer said he felt sad when he found out his friend’s bike had been stolen.
“Because it was just a brand-new bike,” he said. “He got it for his birthday and he only had it a few days. I felt bad for him.”
Fifth-grader Jackson Barba felt the same way as Sawyer. “It’s hard when you just got a bike and then it gets taken away, because you’re so excited to do it and then you lose your opportunity.”
Cooper Larson, who’s in fourth grade, was eager to do this for Asher because he said everyone on the team is good friends with one another.
“We’ve all known each other a long time,” Cooper said.
The boys all range between third and fifth grade. They wanted their fundraising project to be a surprise for Asher.
“He’ll definitely be surprised and happy, maybe even a little emotional,” said Barba.
“He’s probably just gonna be happy. He was also getting cans too and raising money,” said fifth-grader Logan Billman.
The team purchased the bike on June 18 and gave it to Asher on June 19 after baseball practice. The boys gathered around the bike, and when Asher left the batting cages, they explained what they had done.
Asher was speechless, but he had a big smile on his face.
“I was very, very surprised,” he said. “I felt really excited, and it was so thoughtful that my teammates thought of that for me, and really, I wish I could do something back for them. That was just amazing.”
Conny was in on the secret.
“I’ve known from the beginning, but I’ve been staying out of the loop, so that I just didn’t know anything, so nothing would slip out,” she said.
The other teammates involved with the fundraiser included Josiah Vela, fifth-grade, Josh Fitts, fifth grade, Tyler Olafsen, fourth grade and Emil Leos, fifth grade.
There was $135 left after the purchase of the bike, so the team decided to use it to buy helmets. They also planned to donate to the Independence Police Department for the kids who don’t have helmets.
Read the full story here.