MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - A Martinsville police officer known for helping hundreds of children in need continues making a difference in the Southside community.
Last week, for the first time, he gifted a scholarship. We met with the student who plans to use the money to build a better future.
"Here's your magic scholarship," commented Gilbert.
Overwhelmed by excitement, it's a dream come true for Martinsville High School senior Olivia Buck.
"My mother is a prostitute in Charlottesville," Buck said. "And she had a really good life growing up, but she just fell to drugs."
Raised by her grandparents on a hair dresser's salary, this scholarship money is more than paper, it is the beginning of a bright future for Buck.
"Not many people have the opportunity to go to college," said Buck. "Most of the kids here they're still working two jobs."
She owes a big thank you to Officer Gilbert, who says he has seen the worst of poverty on the job.
When he is not wearing the badge, he's helping hundreds of kids in poverty through the charity he started three years ago, 'Cops, Kids and Clothes'.
"I was working a case at one of the schools and while I was there the teachers told me about a kid that day that came to school and his shoes were so bad...the principal gave up her shoes," said Gilbert.
In the three years, he's raised more than $35,000 in donations and clothing to fill up a closet in each city school that all students have access to.
"We just do this as a service to Martinsville City Schools to try to help those kids, because one of the things we know is that the biggest barrier kids have to education is poverty," said Gilbert.
This fall, Buck said she's going to be a freshman at Patrick Henry Community College.
Gilbert hopes to raise money for another scholarship. If you would like to help, visit: https://www.facebook.com/ckcmartinsville/.