Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
With George the Giraffe present, Liberty Hawks football player Kaleb Roth presents Valley Children's Hospital representative Jessica Duarte with a check for $6,100 as a result of Roth's "Beyond the Game" initiative, which was intended to raise $10 for every point scored by the Hawks. Behind Roth are members of the 2017 Hawks football team.
A giant check for $6,100 highlighted Liberty High School’s Community Service Awards assembly, honoring six students who went above and beyond to help others.
Liberty Hawks football player Kaleb Roth started an initiative two years ago entitled “Beyond The Game,” which raises $10 for every point the Hawks football team scored to donate to Valley Children’s Hospital.
The Hawks scored 463 points this season, but Roth was able to raise $6,100 to bring his two-year contribution to Valley Children’s Hospital to more than $10,000.
“It’s really cool to give more than we scored,” Roth said. “I thought the $10 per point was pretty lofty as it is. Just to reach the original goal and go beyond that was awesome. Just to reach the goal was great, too.”
In addition to raising money from every football game, Roth got help from Madera and Madera South high schools, who raised money for the project at The Stadium Road Showdown for Roth’s cause.
“It was super encouraging to have other schools take part,” Roth said. “I always thought this was a great idea. To have schools reinforce that by being a part of that is super encouraging. It was a lot of fun.”
Roth sent out a lot of emails and texts to try to get donations. He also went to many businesses, and had people come to him.
“I had to be pretty active to get the word out,” Roth said.
Liberty’s donation will go into the patient help fund at Valley Children’s Hospital, which helps families of patients at VCH.
“A diagnosis can be very devastating to a family,” said Jessica Duarte, Development Lead of External Development in the foundation department of Valley Children’s Hospital. “There are bills they can’t afford because they can’t be at work. It allows the family put in requests to the fund. A committee reviews those request and pays directly to the company to pay the bill. It helps families because they are able to focus on their child.”
“Being the spokesperson for that is very humbling,” Roth said.
Roth helped his cause as much as possible. He rushed for more than 1,600 yards this season and rushed for 24 touchdowns, accounting for 144 points.
“It makes it super personal and super fun,” Roth said.
Duarte said Roth’s donation is one of the biggest ones from a high school.
“It’s incredibly special,” Duarte said. “We have a lot of high schools do a lot of incredible things. Outside of Kid’s Day, it’s one of the largest donations we have gone from any high school.”
“I had a lot of people who were extremely generous,” Roth said. “The Boundarants were extremely generous. They sponsored almost all of our home games, which was a huge donation. A family friend, Phil Fulbright was generous and sponsored quite a bit. The Caetanos and Calverts sponsored a game. Nameplate and Legal Action are businesses that sponsored a game.”
In addition to Roth, Dani Hutchinson and Brittany Anderson of the Liberty Future Farmer’s of America club was honored for gathering donations of pet food and supplies for victims of the Northern California wildfires.
Dustin Thompson, commissioner of community service for Liberty was honored for the canned food drive. Sarah Folsom, of Key Club and Associated Student Body president, was honored for gathering socks during Socktober.
Another student honored was Kaleigh Hunt, who collected school supplies for children affected by the fires in Sonoma County.
Hunt helped collect backpacks to more than 100 elementary school children in Rosalind.
“I was surprised from the community,” Hunt said. “I was thinking maybe collecting about 100 items. But I got way more than I expected. I was just overwhelmed with happiness and compassion that other people wanted to help. It was amazing.”
Hunt, who has family in the area, said she was thinking of a way to help the victims and her idea turned into two vans full of school supplies for students that lost their high school in the fire.
“It felt so good to just help people,” Hunt said. “I just saw the gratefulness in the students’ eyes. They needed them. Seeing the school gone made me thing about what would happen if this school was gone. I really take it for granted sometimes and tragedy brings it together. This tragedy brought us to them, but also connected the school.”
Hunt, who also got the help from the school’s Key Club, said she was surprised by how she was able to collect the donations.
“It’s amazing how you get a group of people and if you will work together to achieve a goal, you will,” she said. “I way overachieved the goal that I had.”
Hunt got help from Pizza Factory and the Ranchos Market where she had collection boxes. She also talked to Webster Elementary School and received donations.
“We got more donations from the school, but the fact that they let us have those boxes in their community was amazing,” Hunt said. “I hope it will inspire other people that have a simple idea to go for it.”