Marion teen fights bullying with birthday money

Micah Greene (third left) donated his birthday money to the Friends of Rachel Club on Friday, Jan. 6. (Also pictured, from left) Carlos Lopez, Pat Gross, Matt Smith, Chloe Vaughn, Micah Greene, Natalie Gouge and Edwin Spivey.

For his 18th birthday, Micah Greene decided he didn’t want a lot of gifts. Instead, he wanted to give back.

“Basically I was on YouTube and I saw a few videos about bullying and it made me mad,” Greene told The McDowell News. “Then later, mom and dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I figured why not just use my birthday money to donate to something that fights against bullying, and I chose Friends of Rachel.”

The Friends of Rachel Club started this year at McDowell High School. It honors the late Rachel Scott, who was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. The organization, Rachel’s Challenge, was started by her father to help start a chain reaction of kindness and tolerance throughout schools across the nation.

So, instead of taking his birthday money and spending it on something for himself, Greene decided to donate it to Friends of Rachel. He turned 18 on Dec. 10, but collected funds on into the new year. On Friday, Jan. 6, he presented a check for $350 to officers of the Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club.

“It’s amazing and so selfless,” said FOR officer Chloe Vaughn.

“It was really unexpected. It takes a lot of heart to make that donation,” said FOR officer Carlos Lopez. “This is the first time we have had something like this but we can still start off strong. Within time and consistency, it will start to get really big.”

FOR officer Matt Smith said this money will help the club grow more members. He said the club is making a difference at MHS.

“I believe that other people are coming out of their shells by making new friends. We see a lot of bullying not happening anymore,” said Smith.

Greene, who has autism, doesn’t attend the high school, but he spoke out strongly against bullying and what many students face every day.

“Bullying is stupid. Whether it happens soon or it happens later, you will pay the price for it. I’m just glad that I am smart enough not go that route,” said Greene. “Bullying is not something that’s going to stop, that’s just nonsense. There are always going to be idiots in the world, but thankfully there are still people that have the goodness in their hearts and the intelligence in their brains to be able to make the better decisions and not dig themselves into a hole they can’t dig themselves out of.”

Student Services Director Natalie Gouge, along with Pat Gross and Glenda Glenn, were among the few who helped bring the club to the school. She said without community support, the club would not be possible.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful and to know that other people see the importance of it. We want all of our kids to experience kindness and compassion, and what better way to share your money than with the club that is encouraging kindness and compassion,” said Gouge. “We know amazing things are going to happen and continue to happen.”

Greene wants to make this an annual event by choosing a different charity to donate to each year. His mother, Maria Greene, said she is so proud of her son.

“It makes me feel like I’ve done something right,” she said. “I’m very proud of Micah. And considering he doesn’t go to public school and with his autism, I just think that’s its really special that he donated to the school that he would have went to.”

You can follow the Friends of Rachel Club at MHS on Twitter.