Paralyzed Fresno Teen Brightens the Holiday for the Homeless

December 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A Fresno teen is putting the true meaning into the saying "it is better to give than receive." The boy who was paralyzed in a drive by shooting in west Fresno seven years ago is spreading hope to those he considers less fortunate than himself.13-year old Andrew Mitchell loves body boarding on this low riding version of a skateboard. He also loves playing basketball ... from his wheelchair. The seventh grader lost all feeling in his legs after a drive by shooting December 26th 2002. A bullet intended for a group of young men near California and Martin Luther King in southwest Fresno hit Andrew instead. But Andrew's family doesn't dwell on what he can't do.

Andrew's mother, Stephanie Adams-Mitchell said, "What happened to Drew is the best thing in the world that happened to us because when you have that kind of trying in your life ... there's no way you can turn back. Not when you see God's goodness."

Last Christmas Andrew and his mom drove by a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno and the teen wanted to reach out.

Andrew said, "They have to live out there ... I'm here inside the house. No rain is touching me ... but a whole bunch of rain is touching them. "

With the help of his parents and his church, Pearly Grove Baptist, Andrew wants to collect 100 sleeping bags and 100 duffle bags filled with toiletries for the homeless. Most of all ... Andrew wants them to know somebody cares. He said, "Let them know there is hope ... and God is watching out for them."

Andrew's mom, Stephanie, said "It can happen to anybody ... homelessness can happen to anybody ... and if they think it can't ... they need to go down to California Street and see those people sleeping out there in tents."

A week from Saturday ... December 19th ... Andrew and his church family will hand out the sleeping bags and duffle bags to the homeless downtown. But the good news is already spreading and the homeless men and women in this encampment on Ventura and "F" street are clearly touched by Andrew's kindness.

One homeless woman, Kerrie Brooke had a message for Andrew. She said, "Tell him God Bless him ... they say 'a little child shall lead them, right?'"

You can e-mail Andrew if you are interested in donating: spiritfresno@gmail.com


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