> Family > Heart of Matter

These Kids Are Buying a Car for their Teacher

July 17, 2022 | by Sarah Pachter

And he has no idea.

Mr. Edwards1, a teacher, wakes up every morning at 4:45 to begin his long commute to work. He travels by scooter (non-electric) to the bus, and then scoots for another 20 minutes once he gets off his bus, arriving at YULA at 7:45.

He commutes four and half hours daily and does not own a car.

Mr. Edwards stays late twice a week to help students with homework and upcoming tests – until his scooter broke, interrupting his routine. Staying after school with no functioning scooter meant missing his regular bus and extending his long commute by 45 minutes. “Kids, I have to leave early because I missed my bus yesterday, which added another hour to my commute. I’m sorry, but I have to run right after class, or I may miss the bus again.”

That’s when the kids started prying and discovered that Mr. Edwards was walking several miles to and from the bus stop and his home, adding to his already taxing commute.

Johnny Fried and Josh Pachter, two students in Mr. Edwards’ class, decided they wanted to help. They collected money to purchase an electric scooter and helmet for their special teacher. Josh gave one hundred dollars – three weeks of his savings – towards the gift.

YULA students Johnny Fried and Josh Pachter

In just a few hours, students generously gave to the cause, and that night Josh and Johnny went with an eleventh-grade student to Target and picked up the gifts Mr. Edwards.

When the boys surprised Mr. Edwards with the scooter, the teacher had tears in his eyes. “I will never forget this as long as I live,” he told the students.

It was hard to evaluate who was happier: Mr. Edwards, or the children who organized and gave to this project. Everyone was beaming, and the boys were written about in the weekly newsletter.

Now, they are taking this project to the next level.

Josh Gerendash, an eleventh grader, thought of the idea to purchase a car for Mr. Edwards. He reached out to an organization called The Change Reaction, a giving platform that often provides direct financial support to hardworking individuals who find themselves in emergency situations. Although they do not typically give large sums, they were intrigued by this project and have committed to donating $10,000, half of the cost of a new car. The only condition is that the boys needed to raise the other half themselves.

Josh Gerendash

The group got to work brainstorming. Movie nights, basketball tournaments, and art sales are all being planned. But it’s tricky – the project is a surprise, and fundraising without Mr. Edwards finding out has been like walking a tightrope.

In today’s world, when most high schoolers struggle with empathy and seeing beyond themselves, these stories are unusual. These boys are breaking boundaries with their incredible empathy for others.

This story will be filmed and promoted by Dude. Be nice, a media company that focuses on positivity to counteract bullying and to create stronger communities.

The kids could hardly wait to see Mr. Edwards face when he walks into the classroom and they say, “Surprise! Here are the keys to a brand-new car!”

Click here if you’d like to help these high school boys reach their goal before the start of the school year. Remember to keep it quiet, it’s a surprise!

  1. Name has been changed

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