NBC26 Cares: Take 5 Club
What would you do if your employer gave you a $100 bill and told you to use the money to do something positive in the community? A worker at 4imprint in Oshkosh came up with a creative idea to help stop kids from being bullied.
Vicky Schroeder's days of being teased at school are long over, but the emotional scars still run deep.
"I had a lot of name calling. Turkey and poor kid and things like that and it hurt. It hurt to a point that I actually walked down the hall and if I saw these people, I would go the other way," explained Schroeder.
Now an adult, Vicky is waging a battle on bullying head on. She created the Take 5 Club to help students like 11-year-old Prestin DeGroot who faced daily tormenting by his classmates.
"They were like, 'Ha ha. We got better clothes than you,'" said DeGroot. "They kept pushing me up against our coat hooks."
Prestin's mom was out of work and struggling to provide for six children. Vicky heard their story and her Take 5 Club came to the rescue.
"We buy for them socks, underwear, pants, shirts, jackets, whatever they need. About two weeks worth of clothes so they don't wear the same thing everyday, and they fit in like every other child," said Schroeder.
Prestin's new clothes brought an end to the bullying.
"It just immediately stopped. No one came up to me and said mean things. I got more friends than usual."
"It's amazing. It's the most amazing feeling in the world to know you've changed their life, said Schroeder.
Kids who've received clothing from the Take 5 Club say it has boosted their self-confidence and helped them focus more on their education.
"Knowing that they look good in the eyes of their peers is definitely helping them feel better about themselves," said Cindy Olson, Principal at Merrill Middle School.
Schroeder started the Take 5 Club six years ago. It now has more than 250 members who donate $25 a year to the organization. Schroeder uses the money to shop for clothes for five children each month. Members receive a monthly email that details where their money went and how it helped bullying victims.