Matthew Wettach has created an ongoing program to provide the basic school supplies for kindergarten children in the Mt. Pleasant area who have been identified as economically disadvantaged.
The need for the program was identified by area educators, the community Action Program and the Southeast Iowa Head Start Program. These entities provided Wettach with suggestions on what type of supplies were needed, how to implement the project, and identify the group of students who would be attending kindergarten in the fall.
With this information, Wettach began his “Write Smart” project in August of 2005. Using the proceeds earned from his summer lawn mowing job, he decided to provide each student with a back-pack filled with the materials listed on area school supply lists. In addition to the supplies, he enclosed a hand-written note encouraging the child to do their best in school throughout the year.
A total of 32 back-packs were filled with materials by project volunteers at the Tolson Community Action Center in Mt. Pleasant. The cost of each pack with materials was $71.42 and the total cost of the project was $2,285. Extra back-packs were sent to Louisa and Des Moines County for distribution by their Community Action Directors.
In October, Wettach followed up on his “Write Smart” project with a Halloween book, stickers, pencil, small treat and a personalized note, which cost $2.95 per child. Community Action Director, Sheila Church, suggested with fall approaching, that a coat drive may also benefit area children.
In December, Wettach held a coat drive at his sister’s store in Mt. Pleasant and collected more than 150 coats of all sizes. The coats were taken to the Community Action Center for distribution. In addition, “Write Smart” provided each of the project students with mittens and hats, a hard-bound Christmas book, additional crayons, pencils, glue and a personalized Christmas card, which cost $4.55 per student.
In February each kindergarten student in the program receiving a soft-cover book, Valentine stickers, paints pencils, and a small treat, which cost $1.95 per student. He also polled area school secretaries for input as to how the project could be improved.
Matthew Wettach’s “Write Smart” project is being continued this school year. This is a result of his commitment to enhancing the early impact in individual students who may otherwise not have this positive influence in their early educational life.