SALISBURY TWP., Pa. - For 20-year-old Kimberly Cardona, the dream of starting college in the fall as an education major was cut short last week.
Cardona was found murdered the day after July 4th off of Lanze Lane in Salisbury Township.
However her life and her name will now help other young women achieve that same dream of attending college in a country thousands of miles of away.
While visiting family in the area, Bethlehem native-turned-philanthropist, Charles Decker read of Cardona's story on the internet.
"The loss of someone like Kimberly just requires that we all come together and do something very positive in her name that her name and spirit will live on and on," said Decker.
In 2004, Decker established the Charles Decker Foundation to help abandoned and orphaned children in the Dominican Republic, mainly women.
Decker has started a scholarship fund in Kimberly Cardona's name to help young Dominican women go to college.
Even though Cardona and her family are from Puerto Rico, Decker says he still wants to help others in her name.
"So much of our focus is to try and help the Kimberlys that are in our care. The foundation organized a scholarship that would be in Kimberly's name, awarded every year to as many students as we could afford. We would very much like to involve her family in the selection process, come meet the young ladies we're supporting and it could be young men as well," he said.
Decker has started the fund with a $1,000 of his own. He hopes to raise enough for several full scholarships in the fall.
Decker says it takes between $8,000-$9,000 for a full scholarship in order to pay for books, uniforms and food.
It's an idea Natasha Cardona says her younger sister would've supported.
"I'm happy for it you know? Actually something good came out of something so bad. She would've been really happy," said Cardona.
When it came to Decker's efforts, Cardona added, "If he would like to talk us he's so welcome to. I would like to say thank you to him in person. It takes a lot...even a stranger, it goes to show you that people have big hearts."
The Charles Decker Foundation is an IRS 501 C-3 organization.
For more information on the foundation click here or you can email Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allentown, PA 18102