MATTHEWS -- When one of their own was recently injured in a four-wheeler accident, the children of Matthews proved you're never too young for community togetherness.
A few weeks ago 12-year-old Ashley Geiser was rushed by helicopter to a Cape Girardeau hospital after being thrown from the four-wheeler she was riding and hit her head.
Hearing about Geiser's accident and her condition, Matthews resident Rochelle Beck suggested the children could help Geiser's family by coming together as a group, said resident Michelle Wallace.
Beck suggested raising money by raking their neighbors' yards.
"The children wanted to do something to help so when Rochelle came up with the idea, the kids said yes," Wallace said.
Teya Lewis, 15, said although she doesn't know Geiser that well, she knows Geiser's brother, who is close to her age. Lewis' two sisters and a brother -- ranging in age from 5 to 13 -- also decided to help.
"I know I would definitely want somebody helping me if my sister was in a four-wheeler wreck," Lewis said.
Each Sunday afternoon over the past two weeks, approximately 20 children have raked leaves in about 13 yards in Matthews.
June Roberts was one of the residents who let the children rake leaves in her yard.
"I thought it was a wonderful idea," Roberts said. "It's wonderful for the kids to get involved and feel like they are doing something to help."
Roberts said she learned about the group of leaf rakers from her son, Bill Roberts who helps Wallace and Beck supervise the children. But the idea also snowballed in the community by word of mouth, she said.
"We're a small community and everybody knows everybody and we do things to help out. People in a small community usually work together," Roberts said.
And Roberts had nothing but praise for the children's work.
"They could rake whatever they wanted to rake -- and they got every leaf," Roberts said.
On Sunday the children worked about 3.5 hours without one complaint, noted Beck. And so far the children have raised $500 for the Geiser family to help pay for meals and gas expenses to and from the hospital.
Included in the $500 are individual monetary donations by residents and businesses. Others donated trucks to help haul the leaves while town pizza eateries donated pizza. And resident Pam Colbert made ribbons to show support for Geiser's recovery.
The children also made donation cans, which are set up at Johnson's Food Mart and Harvest Cafe in Matthews.
"The kids were all so awesome about helping. They were really working and they knew no one was there to play and were all very serious," Wallace said.
And Geiser, who was once in a coma following the accident, was released from the hospital on Monday, Wallace said.
"She's doing good, but she won't be able to attend school for the rest of the year," Wallace said.
Geiser's mother was very excited when she received the contributions, Wallace noted.
"She didn't know we were doing this. She cried and couldn't believe all the kids came together to help," Wallace said.
Wallace said the children would like to continuing helping if possible. "These kids did an awesome thing," Wallace said. "It's great how committed they are and how committed they are to helping each other."
Anyone who would like to make a donation or have their yard raked can contact Beck after 5 p.m. at 481-9046.